FTC Proposes New Food Marketing Guidelines
May 5, 2011
The Federal Trade ommission
(FTC) proposed new guidelines last
week for how companies can market and sell food products to kids. The proposed
federal guidelines call on the food industry to overhaul how it advertises
cereal, soda, snacks, restaurant meals and other foods to children.
Released by the FTC in
reaction to an epidemic of childhood obesity, the guidelines target a broad
range of advertising tactics used to entice children to consume foods high in
fat, salt and sugar. Essentially encouraging companies to make healthier foods
or to stop advertising to kids, the guidelines focus on a variety of marketing
efforts, including television and print ads, Web sites, advertisements cloaked
as online games, social media, product placement in movies, fast-food meals and
movie characters in cross promotions. The inclusion of digital media represents
one of the most robust efforts yet by the government to address the extension
of children's advertising on the Internet.
"Our proposal really
covers all forms of marketing to kids, and the product packaging and the images
and themes on the cereal boxes have tremendous appeal to kids," Michelle
K. Rusk, a lawyer with the trade commission, told The New York Times. "The
goal is to encourage children to eat more healthy foods because obesity is a
huge health crisis."