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Unilever asks its brands to stop marketing food & beverages to children under the age of 16

The company has issued a deadline of January 2023 for all its brands to comply with the updated principles

Unilever, the British multinational consumer goods company, has instructed its brands to stop marketing food and beverages to children under the age of 16 on both traditional and social media. 

The company on Thursday announced an update to its global principles for responsible marketing to children, raising the standards for an increasingly digital world.

As per a release by the company, the new update principles will apply to all of its food and refreshment portfolio, including ice cream. The brands have been given a deadline of January 2023 for compliance.

The updated principles by the company are:

  • Not targeting children under 16 years old with any marketing or social media communications.
  • Not collecting or storing data on children under 16.
  • Not using influencers, celebrities or social media stars who are under the age of 16 or primarily appeal to children under the age of 16.
  • Providing clear and prominent disclosure of provisions to influencers and limiting child appeal to influencer content.
  • Continuing to refrain from promoting our brands or products in schools, with the exception of participation in educational campaigns, when specifically requested.

Matt Close, President of Ice Cream, Unilever said: “Recognising the power that social media and influencer marketing can have on children’s choices, we believe it’s important to raise the bar on responsible marketing to a minimum age of 16 years old across both traditional and social media.

By making these changes, our goal is to continue to reduce children’s exposure to advertising from the food and beverage industry, and instead support parents to select appropriate treats, to be enjoyed from time to time.”

It should be noted that in the last major update in 2020, Unilever had announced that it will stop marketing and advertising foods and refreshments to children under the age of 12 in traditional media, and under the age of 13 via social media channels.

The company, through the release, also said that it was one of the first companies to apply specific measures for the marketing of its food and refreshment products to children, and the company has continued to lead in adopting new and improved principles. 

It added that Unilever’s marketing and point of sale communications comply with all relevant country laws and regulations, as well as self-regulatory codes.

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