By Aitana Giebels van Bekestein, Digital Intern
The Government’s accelerating changes around consumer goods regulations have recently focused in on fast food advertisement’s, and this shouldn’t come as a surprise. From banning its advertisement pre-watershed to culling cartoon characters used to sell junk food to children, the fast food foodscape is changing rapidly. So, what should we expect?
We are all exposed daily to a significant number of ‘unhealthy’ food advertisements. You will probably find you’ll also come across a fast food establishment on the corner of the high street as well; cheap, delicious and nearby. However, sometimes some foods are just too good to be good for you.
Factually, government statistics state that about a fifth of children in England aged 10-11 are obese and 27% of adults as well. Last year new regulations were put in place, banning the use of cartoon characters and celebrities involved in junk food adverts as well as extracting the adverts from media aimed at children. However, many ‘unhealthy’ foods packaging still includes cartoons and celebrities. Hence, the government is insisting to further control and discourage society from abusing such products.
The British Government has shown an eagerness to address many of the underlying issues that concern society. Many consumer products and services contribute to worsening public health, the obesity crisis and the increasing degradation of the environment. Regulations on consumer goods are constantly being tweaked and changed. If we take the previous examples of the overhaul of plastic bags, 5p bags has been an incredibly successful scheme aiming to encourage people to reuse the bags they already have.
Likewise, plastic and paper cups used to make up a significant percentage of packaging waste in the UK, these have been widely replaced with recycled cups. It’s also seen a boom in the market of reusable cups, bottles and cutlery.
These earlier efforts and commitments shows promise that the Government will continue to make changes in response to the obesity statistics this year. After all, most junk food publicity has already been banned. The next step forwards is banning fast food establishments within a certain proximity to schools, as well as regulating the growth of fast food outlets.
Although the Government has taken steps to curb the obesity crisis amongst children, there is still a major issue affecting the health of adults. Statistics show that rather than a general increase in children in eating more junk food, due to advertisements, it is in fact children from more deprived areas. The prevalence of overweight and obese children rises with deprivation levels, whilst fruit and vegetable consumption decreases. Families on the breadline cannot afford to eat healthily. Fast food outlets in more deprived areas are also significantly more multifarious. Healthier options are simply more expensive than the latter which complicates and discourages the ability and wish to eat healthier, not forgetting the time that it takes to cook and serve healthy meals. Consequently, we should be expecting product taxes to be used to encourage healthier eating and more sustainable consumption choices.
@jamieoliver recently launched a very important campaign to protect our kids from being bombarded by junk food advertising… The science? The more junk food advertising children see, the more of it they eat. Simple.
It might be the end for some of the nation’s best-loved characters but saying farewell to Tony the Tiger and Colin the Caterpillar could be well worth it. And who knows, maybe they’ll diversify into healthier options…fancy finding Colin the Caterpillar on your cauliflower?
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