Assessment of the Canadian Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative's Uniform Nutrition Criteria for Restricting Children's Food and Beverage Marketing in Canada.

Research paper by Christine C Mulligan, Marie-Ève MÈ Labonté, Laura L Vergeer, Mary R MR L'Abbé

Indexed on: 23 Jun '18Published on: 23 Jun '18Published in: Nutrients


Imposing governmental restrictions on the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to children is a demanded policy action since in Canada, this remains self-regulated by the voluntary, industry-led Canadian Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CAI) whose participants pledge to only advertise products that satisfy its Uniform Nutrition Criteria to children. This study evaluated the stringency of this nutrient profiling (NP) model for restricting child-directed food and beverage marketing in Canada. Data was obtained from the University of Toronto Food Label Information Program (FLIP) 2013 database, providing nutritional information for 15,342 packaged products which were evaluated using the CAI Uniform Nutrition Criteria. Products with child-directed packaging and those from CAI participating companies were identified. Of the = 15,231 products analyzed, 25.3% would be allowed and 57.2% would be restricted from being marketed to children according to the CAI Criteria. Additionally, 17.5% of products lacked criteria by which to evaluate them. Child-directed products represented 4.9% of all products; however, 74.4% of these would be restricted from being marketed to children under CAI standards. Products from CAI participating companies represented 14.0% of all products and 33.3% of child-directed products; 69.5% of which would be restricted from being marketed to children. These results indicate that if the CAI was mandatory and covered a broader range of advertising platforms, their Uniform Nutrition Criteria would be relatively stringent and could effectively restrict children’s marketing in Canada.