NEWS: AA moots accord with food lobby

Campaigners who are pressing for heavier controls on TV ads promoting sweets and snack foods to children want to end their long-running feud with the Advertising Association by co-operating with it in a joint study.

Campaigners who are pressing for heavier controls on TV ads promoting

sweets and snack foods to children want to end their long-running feud

with the Advertising Association by co-operating with it in a joint

study.



The offer follows yet another clash between the two groups over a newly

published Government report on the influence of TV advertising on

children’s eating habits. It was made by Geoffrey Cannon, the chairman

of the National Food Alliance. ‘Yahboo is a great spectator sport but

it’s not in the public interest,’ he said.



The move brought a positive response from Andrew Brown, the AA’s

director general: ‘We’re not averse to the idea as long as everybody

agrees the ground rules.’



The peace offering comes in the wake of independent research

commissioned by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food that the

AA says vindicates its argument that advertising does not encourage

children to eat unhealthy food.



The NFA, an umbrella organisation for pressure groups that are calling

for tighter restrictions on food ads aimed at children, has dismissed

the study.



The AA bases its claim on the MAFF report’s conclusion that there is ‘no

evidence to suggest advertising is the principal influence on children’s

eating behaviour’.



AA executives have always accused the NFA of exaggerating the influence

of advertising on children’s choice of food, arguing that parents and

peer group pressure are equally influencial.



But the NFA played down the MAFF report. It says the research is not

original, rather a review of existing material that does not cover the

effect of advertising on children under the age of five.



Cannon, who has already discussed the idea of greater collaboration with

John Hooper, the director general of the Incorporated Society of British

Advertisers, said he planned to follow through the idea of a joint study

into the eating habits of the under-fives.



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