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Food brands hold crisis talks with TfL over advertising ban


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Food brands are in discussions with TfL to minimise the impact of the junk food advertising ban.

Following the announcement last month that junk food adverts will be banned on TfL, Deliveroo, Just Eat and McDonald's are amongst brands holding talks with TfL, who are set to outlaw adverts of fatty and sugary foods and drinks across London's transport network, according to The Sunday Times.

The ban, which has been confirmed by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan will come into force on 25th February 2019. It will restrict junk food and drink adverts on the London Underground, Overground, Tfl Rail, buses, river and tram services.

The changes come as part of a bid to help combat child obesity, and will cover ads for non-alcoholic drinks and food high in fat, sugar and salt along with food considered to be ‘less healthy’ as set out by Public Health England guidelines.


 Image credit: Pixabay

A Mcdonald's spokesperson said: "When it comes to advertising and marketing, we have always taken our responsibilities extremely seriously. We never advertise products considered to be high in fat, salt or sugar to children and are already in the process of changing our directional adverts in London which signpost nearby restaurants.

"Because of the choice we offer and the proactive changes we have made to our menu over many years, our customers in London will continue to see our adverts when travelling on the TfL network. McDonald’s has a long and proud history in the capital and we are committed to working in partnership with the Mayor to help ensure Londoners always have access to affordable, good food."

Khan said: “It is clear that advertising plays a huge role in the choices we make, whether we realise it or not, and Londoners have shown overwhelming support for a ban on ads for junk food and drink on our transport network.

“It’s completely unacceptable that, in a city as prosperous as London, where you live and the amount you earn can have a massive impact on whether you have access to healthy, nutritious food. I’m determined to change this.”


 Image credit: Pixabay

Khan added that his office and TfL will work ‘closely with brands and advertisers’ to promote healthy meals and drinks in order to combat child obesity. Khan also added that 82% of responses supported the new rules. The ban itself has been backed by the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health and NHS England.

The Advertising Association, on the other hand, has suggested there is no clear evidence that an advertising ban on fast food and drinks on TfL will have a positive effect on reducing childhood obesity.

Stephen Woodford, the AA chief executive, said: “Not only will this measure fail to achieve the end goal of reducing childhood obesity, it will also damage business in our capital and reduce TfL’s income from advertising, with the potential of putting increased pressure on commuters through higher fares.”

Some 'less healthy' food and drinks can escape the ban but only if it can be proven with evidence that they do not contribute to increasingly unhealthy diets in children.

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