Could the beloved Marks & Spencer Percy Pig sweet face the chop under new plans to tackle childhood obesity?
A new report by the Health Select Committee has suggested that cartoon or fictional characters may no longer be used to promote unhealthy food. This means the likes of Percy Pig, Tony the Tiger and even the Milky Bar Kid could disappear as the characters fronting iconic products.
Other marketing crackdowns could include restricting pre-watershed adverts of high fat, sugar and salt foods, while junk food price promotions and multi-buy offers could also be restricted.
This news comes after a shocking study (via BBC) found that one in 25 children in England aged 10 or 11 are severely obese, while the recent report states that nearly a third of children aged 2 to 15 are overweight or obese across the UK.
The full report titled Child Obesity: Time for Action, outlines key areas that need to be addressed as a “matter of urgency.” This includes:
- Enforcing a 9pm watershed on junk food advertising.
- Having a ban on brand generated characters or licensed TV and filmed characters.
- Regulation on discount and price promotions on confectionery and other less healthy foods from the ends of aisles and checkouts.
- Setting targets to improve rates of breastfeeding to tackle childhood obesity.
- Limit the proliferation of unhealthy food outlets in one area, as well as limiting junk food and drink billboard advertising near schools.
- Tax milk-based drinks in a similar way to the current soft drinks tax.
- Better calorie labelling.
- Better services for children living with obesity.
In a statement to the BBC, a Department of Health spokesperson said its plan to tackle childhood obesity was the most “ambitious in the world.”
“We are in the process of working up an updated plan, and will be in a position to say more shortly.”