Members of the International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA) have achieved exemplary compliance rates in television, print and internet advertising to the commitments of the Global Policy on Advertising and Marketing Communications to Children, according to the 2012 Compliance Monitoring Report on Global Advertising of Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages in Child-directed Media.

The independent report, prepared by Accenture Media Management, highlighted that IFBA members achieved a compliance rate of 98.9 per cent for television advertising in 2012 – a 1.3 per cent rise compared to 2011. Compliance rates for print and internet advertising remained consistent at 100 per cent.

Under the global policy, IFBA members commit either to only advertise “better-for-you” products that meet specific nutrition criteria based on accepted scientific evidence and/or applicable national and international dietary guidelines, or not to advertise to children under 12 years of age at all.

This is in line with the aims of the World Health Organisation (WHO) to reduce the impact of the marketing of foods high in saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, sugars or salt on children.

This is the fourth year IFBA has engaged Accenture Media Management to monitor and report publicly on its members’ compliance to their commitments. Since 2009, compliance rates for television advertising have been above 93 per cent in every market analysed.

FIA Executive Director, Bev Postma, said that the high and consistent compliance rates are encouraging and demonstrate that industry self-regulation is working to shift the nature and balance of food and beverage marketing to children.

“The high compliance rates reflect a sizeable reduction in children’s exposure to the marketing of less healthy foods. The rates show the level of commitment that IFBA members have made towards encouraging healthier and more active lifestyles.

“This is something positive for Asia to emulate, particularly as companies in the region are collaborating with governments and policy makers to make voluntary industry pledges, such as recent examples in Singapore and Malaysia, to lessen the impact of the advertising of certain foods on children,” she said.

The 2012 monitoring exercise had been conducted as a random sample of the member companies’ advertisements.

Close to 450,000 television advertisements were monitored over a three-month period in seven markets – Shanghai, Malaysia, Thailand, Colombia, Russia, Saudi Arabia and South Africa. 57 print publications and 87 websites targeted at children under 12 years of age were also monitored in five of these markets – Shanghai, Singapore, Brazil, Russia and South Africa.