BBB Approves ConAgra Foods’ Pledge to Modify Child-Directed Advertising
Future advertising directed to children under 12 will focus on products meeting new nutrition criteria
Arlington, VA .– The Council of Better Business Bureaus today announced its approval of ConAgra Foods’ advertising pledge to focus its advertising to children under 12 years old on better-for-you foods. As a participant in the BBB Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, ConAgra Foods has pledged that 100 percent of its advertising directed primarily to children under 12 will be for products that meet new nutritional guidelines or include healthy lifestyle messages.
“We are very excited to announce the addition of ConAgra Foods’ pledge in this important initiative to seek balance in the types of foods and beverages that are advertised to children,” said Elaine D. Kolish, Director of the Initiative. “ConAgra Foods’ pledge - along with the prior substantial commitments of the 12 other major food and beverage industry leaders in the Initiative - will help to alter dramatically the landscape of food advertising directed to children. As all the pledges become implemented, there will be fewer ads directed primarily at children under 12 and those ads that are aimed at this age group will be for better-for-you choices, which will support parental and other efforts to combat childhood obesity.”
“Helping people, including children, make better nutritional choices is a key part of our overall health and wellness initiatives,” said Gary Rodkin, ConAgra Foods CEO. “ConAgra Foods has a long-established commitment to responsible marketing, especially to younger audiences, and we are excited to be part of this important BBB self-regulation program.”
As part of the pledge, ConAgra Foods intends to feature products that meet its newly established Children’s Advertising Nutritional Guidelines in all advertising directed primarily to children under 12. The ConAgra Foods guidelines are based on the 2005 U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans and Institute of Medicine recommendations as they pertain to fat, trans fat, saturated fat, and sugar. If a product to be advertised does not meet the new guidelines as of the pledge effective date, ConAgra Foods will either not advertise the product to children or include messaging that promotes a healthy lifestyle in the advertisements. Such messages would be reviewed by BBB.
ConAgra Foods’ pledge affects advertising for Kid Cuisine meals, Peter Pan peanut butter, Hunt’s Snack Pack pudding and Chef Boyardee pasta—the only products ConAgra Foods currently advertises to children under 12.
ConAgra Foods’ Children’s Advertising Nutritional Guidelines include the following provisions for foods and meals advertised to children under 12:
* Meals may not exceed 500 calories, of which no more than 35 percent can come from total fat, 10 percent from saturated fat and 25 percent from added sugar. Sodium may not exceed 760 mg.
* Canned pasta may not exceed 350 calories per serving, of which no more than 35 percent can come from total fat, 10 percent from saturated fat and 25 percent from added sugar. Sodium may not exceed 750 mg.
* Also included are requirements for positive nutrients and for food groups to be encouraged.
In addition, as provided by the terms of the Initiative, ConAgra Foods will:
* Restrict the use of third-party licensed characters in advertising primarily directed to children under 12 to products meeting its nutrition criteria or include healthy lifestyle messaging;
* Refrain from advertising food and beverages to children in elementary schools and from product placement in media primarily directed to children under 12; Limit food depicted on food content pages of company-owned Web sites primarily directed to children under 12 to products that meet its nutrition criteria or include healthy lifestyle messaging; and
* Limit the use of food and beverages shown in interactive games primarily directed to children under 12 to products that meet its nutrition criteria or include healthy lifestyle messaging.
ConAgra Foods’ commitments regarding advertising in elementary schools and for new product placements will go into effect in June 2008. All other advertising, use of licensed characters and interactive games commitments will go into effect in September 2008 for Kid Cuisine, Peter Pan, and Hunt’s Snack Pack brands and in June 2009 for the Chef Boyardee brand—if not sooner in each case.
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