MPs call for ban on cartoon characters advertising unhealthy foods

Published on: 31st May 2018

The proposed ban would also mean that film or TV characters like superheroes could no longer appear on such foods.

Cartoon or fictional characters, like Tony the Tiger and the Milky Bar Kid, should no longer be used to promote unhealthy food, a group of MPs says. The committee is also calling for a ban on other film or TV characters being used in the promotion of foods deemed unhealthy. The possibility of such a ban could present implications for the kids’ licensing sector, of which groceries and food plays a large part.

However, the report states that characters should continue to appear on healthy foods in an effort to promote healthier eating patterns, so the move shouldn’t impact licensed characters that appear on packaging or advertising for healthy products.

The MPs’ report comes after figures showed that one in 25 children aged 10 or 11 in England were now classed as “severely obese”, while research by the Institute for Fiscal Studies has found that 50% of all TV advertisements seen by children aged between four and 15 are for products high in fat, salt or sugar.

The advertising of such foods during children’s programmes has been banned since 2007. But research by the broadcasting regulator Ofcom has shown that children spend 64% of their TV viewing time watching shows not aimed specifically at them.


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