IAB responds to proposed UK fat, salt, and sugar advertising ban

In addition to the Draft Online Safety Bill published by the UK Government yesterday, which contained reference to the country’s future legislation surrounding social media and journalistic content, the latest Queen’s Speech has also given advertisers food for thought. A total ban on HFSS foods (those high in fat, salt, and sugar) is now likely to come into play, along with a further ban on advertising such products on television before the 9pm watershed. 

Responding to the impending industry legislation changes, which will be introduced as part of the Government’s new Health & Care Bill, Jon Mew, CEO of the country’s Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB UK) said: 

“Following confirmation in the Queen’s Speech that the Government will introduce a total ban on online advertising for products high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) by the end of 2022, we are urgently seeking clarification from DCMS to understand the situation for our members and the wider industry.” 

“At IAB UK, we strongly disagree with the ban and the Government’s rationale for it. We recognise that childhood obesity is a significant challenge that must be addressed, and our view remains that an online ad ban is not the solution to this complex problem. The archaic action the Government is taking disregards prevailing evidence relating to the causes of obesity and ignores smarter, digital-led solutions put forward by advertising’s regulatory body that could further limit children’s exposure to digital advertising in a proportionate and targeted way.”

Media and marketing publication Campaign reacted to the proposed changes with a story titled ‘‘Dismay’ at govt go-ahead for HFSS ad restrictions for TV and online’, which in addition to the IAB, contains strong responses from both ISBA and the Advertising Association


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