The EU pledge for responsible marketing of food and beverages to children: implementation in food companies.
Sommaire de l'article
Increasing political pressure on the food industry's marketing activities stimulated the formation of the collective EU Pledge for responsible marketing of foods and beverages to children. The objective of the study is to evaluate the commitments made by companies in joining the pledge for the purpose of assessing its effectiveness in regulating signatory companies' marketing activities.
Data on company commitments in relation to the EU Pledge were collected, analyzed and recalculated in order to enable comparison across companies and with general nutritional recommendations. Data on companies' product portfolio and market orientation were collected from their most recent available annual reports. Data on the companies' product profiles were generated via review of the companies' main websites. Similar data were generated for a reference group of companies outside the EU Pledge.
Compared with a reference group of large food and beverage companies, EU Pledge signatory companies have a public image strongly based on products with appeal to children. The EU Pledge sets common standards for regulating signatory companies' marketing behaviour towards children. Further scrutiny of the companies' stated commitments revealed considerable variation in their actual content and in their de facto bindingness on the companies' marketing behaviour-for example, in the definition of target audience for advertising or in nutritional characteristics making products eligible for advertising to children.
In order for voluntary self-regulation schemes such as the EU Pledge to be a credible alternative to public regulation of marketing behaviour, more transparency and stringency are needed.