UK Government Calls Ban On 'Food Porn' Posts On Instagram

Nov 16, 2020 07:57 PM EST | By Kristine M. (staff@foodworldnews.com)

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Food companies in the UK face restrictions from posting 'food porn' photos on social media due to plans to outlaw online marketing of 'unhealthy' food.

Reports from Gov.UK reveal that the government came up with consultation regarding proposals to ban unhealthy food advertisements from mainstream media, including social media platforms.

The restrictions mainly focus on reducing the exposure of HFSS or high in fat, salt, and sugar products to consumers.

The advertisements that will be affected include those from the companies' websites, social media accounts, and paid-for posts on online influencers' accounts. Additionally, viral pictures or posts that are purposely created to be widely shared are included as well.

UK Government Calls A Ban On 'Food Porn' Posts On Instagram And Other Media Platforms
(Photo : Getty images / Leon Neal)

The HFSS advertising ban also covers marketing materials like advertorials, which are commercial emails and text messages, online display ads such as website banners, pre-roll video trailers, and in-app or in-game ads. Paid search listings and price comparison site rankings are also reported to be included in the restrictions.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock states that they are determined to help UK families make healthier choices about the food they consume.

He also acknowledges that children often spend most of their time online and that parents want to feel assured of not exposing their kids to unhealthy food ads that can affect their eating habits.

Research reveals that children are exposed to over 15 billion online ads of food products with high fat, sugar, and salt (HFSS) contents every year.

In addition, there is also evidence that indicates such exposure to HFSS advertising can highly affect what children eat. These food advertisements also shape longer-term food preferences from a young age.

Read also: Comfort Food Could Be at Risk With Europe's Food Labelling System  

Strategy To Tackle Obesity

According to The Guardian, this will be a part of a world-leading measure to tackle the obesity challenges in the UK. Several health organizations also acknowledged and welcomed the said proposal.

Among them are Action On Sugar and the Dental Wellness Trust, British Heart Foundation or BHF, and Obesity Health Alliance or OHA.

An estimated two-thirds of adults in England are overweight or obese, and one in three are primary school-age children.

The government described obesity as "a time bomb" and said that the urgency in dealing with the issue had been highlighted by the evidence of increased risk in coronavirus patients.

Reports say that 8% of critically ill Covid-19 patients in intensive care units are morbidly obese, compared with 2.9% of the general population.

Backlash From Food and Drink Industry

The proposal may have won over several health-conscious organizations and individuals, but not everyone seemed happy about it.

Chief Executive of UK Hospitality, Kate Nicholls expressed a massive concern over the fact there was only a six-week consultation period and no full regulatory impact assessment involved in coming up with the proposal.

UK Diet and Health Policy Federation Head Kate Halliwell says that the proposal could not come at an unfavorable time for food and drink manufacturers.

She explained that the food industry is currently preparing for the busiest season of the year and working hard to meet consumers' demands throughout the pandemic. They had to deal with all of these while facing a genuine threat of a no-deal Brexit.

Related article: Craving for Starbucks? Recreate These Easy Homemade Drinks in Under Five Minutes

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