So long coo-coo for Cocoa Puffs.

(Guardian) — Disney initiative will force food-and-drink advertisers on its network to meet federally approved nutrition standards

The sight of kids scoffing sugary, salt-laden snacks as they watch TV, which in turn showers them with advertisements for the same junk-food products, may be consigned to the past.

In the presence of Michelle Obama, who has made the fight against childhood obesity the imprimatur of her role as first lady, the Walt Disney Company announced that all food and drinks advertised on its broadcast channels would have to meet federally approved nutrition standards.

With tight limits placed on calories, fats, sugar and sodium, many commercials for fizzy drinks, frosted cereals, sweets and sticky cakes would be eradicated from Disney networks.

Obama hailed Disney’s move as a game-changer. “It’s huge. Just a few years ago if you had told me or any other mom or dad in America that our kids wouldn’t see a single ad for junk food while they watched their favorite cartoons on a major TV network, we wouldn’t have believed you,” she said.

Though voluntary, Disney’s initiative has potential to shake up the way food is marketed to children in the US. The company has such scale – reaching almost 100m households through the Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior and Radio Disney — that when it sneezes, other media businesses are likely to catch a cold.

“We’re taking the next important step forward by setting new food advertising standards for kids,” said Disney’s chairman and CEO, Robert Iger.

The move comes as food- and drink-producing giants are under mounting pressure from public authorities seeking to stem the obesity epidemic, particularly among children. Last week New York mayorMichael Bloomberg announced plans to limit the size of sodas dispensed in the city.

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