London Mayor, Sadiq Kahn, has today announced a ban on junk food advertising will be implemented across London's transport network. 

The ban, which is due to take effect from 25 February 2019, covers ads for foods and non-alcoholic drinks deemed high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) and those products considered by Public Health England as 'less healthy'. 

The new restrictions form part of the Mayor's plan to help tackle childhood obesity, encourage healthy eating and promote overall healthier lifestyles.  

Impacts for advertisers

  • The type of advertisements banned under the new measures includes those that directly feature food and/or non-alcoholic drinks considered to be high in fat, sugar and salt.
  • Food and drink brands, restaurants, takeaways and ordering services will be required to promote healthier food and drink options and will not be able to simply promote their brand.
  • Incidental images, graphical representations and references to food and/or non-alcoholic drinks that promote the consumption of foods high in fat, sugar and salt will not be permitted.
  • Advertisements for food and non-alcoholic drink that are considered to be high in fat, salt, sugar may be considered for an exception by TfL if the advertiser can demonstrate, with appropriate evidence, that the product does not contribute to child obesity.

ISBA's Director of Public Policy, James Barge said “The Mayor is right to have a focus on tackling the issue of child obesity. We all – brands, civil society, government and individuals – have a role to play in tackling this multi-dimensional issue.

ISBA and our members have consistently worked constructively to ensure we play as full a part as we can in making this policy proportionate and effective. We are disappointed that today’s announcement appears to create a disincentive to companies reformulating their products, creates contractual uncertainty for advertising taken out beyond February and creates regulatory confusion when it comes to brand and creative content.

We welcome the ability to discuss these proposals further in December and would urge the Mayor to convene a working group to ensure that this announcement delivers on the promise of tackling childhood obesity. We stand ready to play our part."

The restrictions will apply to ads on all modes of transport controlled by TfL and follow a public consultation launched in May of this year. 

View the Mayor's full release here >

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Written 23rd November 2018
By Colin Sheehan