The government is poised to announce a ban on junk food advertising online and before 9pm on TV from 2023, as Boris Johnson looks to deliver on his pledge to tackle the UK’s growing obesity crisis.
The new measures, which will be some of the toughest marketing restrictions in the world, will heavily impact the more than £600m spent by brands on all food advertising online and on TV annually.
The 9pm pre-watershed ban on advertising TV products deemed to be high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) could cost TV broadcasters such as ITV, Channel 4, Channel 5 and Sky more than £200m a year in revenue.
The online ad ban would affect all paid-for forms of digital marketing, from ads on Facebook to paid-search results on Google, text message promotions, and paid activity on sites such as Instagram and Twitter. It is estimated that more than £400m is spent on advertising food products online in the UK annually.
The tough rules, which are expected to be announced as soon as Thursday, follow Johnson changing his view on personal health decisions after his hospitalisation with coronavirus last year. The prime minister is said to blame his own health issues for contributing to his illness. Overweight people are at greater risk of severe illness or death from Covid.
Research has found that one in three children leaving primary school are overweight or obese, as are almost two-thirds of adults in England. Last year, the government’s consultation on proposals to implement a ban estimated…