Public Support for Junk Food Advertising Restrictions

06 June 2019

The Scottish public agree – No more junk food ads!

A new survey from Obesity Action Scotland indicates strong support amongst Scottish adults for a 9pm watershed to be applied to TV, online and outdoor adverts for junk food.

With the UK Government currently consulting on advertising restrictions and the Scottish Government agreeing to explore action on devolved aspects of advertising, these results send a clear message: Scotland agrees that the current levels of children’s exposure to junk food advertising is unacceptable.

Our polling found the following:

  • 74% of respondents would support a ban on junk food adverts being shown on TV before 9pm
  • 69% of respondents support a ban on junk food adverts shown online before 9pm
  • 66% of respondents support a ban on junk food adverts shown outside of the home before 9pm
  • 66% of respondents agree that children seeing adverts for junk food contributes to childhood obesity
  • 67% of respondents agree that seeing fewer adverts for junk food would help children have a healthier diet

Additionally, whilst not covered by the current consultation, adults recognised that other forms of marketing also needed action

  • 72% of respondents would support a ban on children’s cartoon characters/ sports professionals on the packaging of junk food(s) and drink(s)
  • 59% of respondents support a ban on junk food(s) and drink(s) companies from being able to sponsor sports events

Obesity Action Scotland wants to see a 9pm watershed on junk food adverts implemented across all media devices and channels to protect children from the harmful effects of marketing of foods high in fat, sugar and salt. This 9pm watershed should include live TV, TV on demand, radio, all types of online, social media, apps, in-game, cinema and digital outdoor advertising such as billboards.

Lorraine Tulloch, Programme Lead of Obesity Action Scotland said:

“We know that junk food adverts influence what children eat and contribute to childhood obesity. The current restrictions on advertising do not go far enough and we want to see the UK Government implement a 9pm watershed across all forms of digital media. Adults across Scotland have indicated their strong support for such action.  It’s time for government to step up to protect the health of our children. We urge everyone to take a few minutes to respond to the consultation and advise the government that they want to see action now.”

Find out more here