ASA Report finds 'significant decline' in HFSS ads viewed by children

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has published a report summarising children’s exposure to TV ads for alcohol, gambling and food and soft drinks high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS). 

It shows that children’s exposure to HFSS TV ads has fallen by over a third in two years from 12.4 ads per week to 8 ads per week. Children now see fewer TV ads for HFSS products than they do for non-HFSS products.

In the decade between 2008 and 2018, it was reported that children’s exposure to all TV ads for food and soft-drink brands, HFSS and non-HFSS, has halved from an average of 35.5 ads per week in 2008 to 17.8 ads per week in 2018.  The ASA stated that in 2018 children saw an average of eight TV ads for HFSS foods last year, down from 9.6 per week in 2017 and 12.4 per week in 2016.

Guy Parker, ASA chief executive stated the ASA's "priority is to ensure children are protected and we're pleased that there's a clear reduction in children's exposure to TV ads for HFSS products and consistently low alcohol ad exposure levels."

This continuing decline might indicate the success of the self-governance by the industry using the ASA and that further legislation to restrict advertising of HFSS foods to children would not be necessary.

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