The German federal government wants to tackle the growing problem of obesity among young children. That is why the commercials promoting sweets and other unhealthy foods must end quickly. But there is a lot of resistance to the plan.
‘Is it soon over with the sweet chocolate Easter bunny in front of the shop window?’ so asks Image wondering this weekend. Germany’s largest tabloid once again tackles a sensitive subject. Just when millions of Germans come together to enjoy the variety of Osterschokolade.
Germany is under the spell of a major government plan to largely ban commercials and online advertisements for unhealthy products. Reason: Cem Özdemir (The Greens), the German Minister of Agriculture and Food, sees young people getting fatter. He therefore wants to reduce the consumption of foods with too high a content of sugar, fat and salt, especially among children up to the age of 14.
TV and radio stations may no longer broadcast certain commercials between 06:00 and 23:00, according to a bill that Özdemir is currently working on. In addition to commercials of chocolate Easter bunnies and eggs, well-known slogans such as ‘Haribo makes children happy’ are in danger of disappearing from the screen during the day.
This equates the advertising of candy with that of telephone sex and gambling. In Germany, they can only be seen and heard from 9 or 10 p.m. to protect minors. Similar rules have been in force in the Netherlands since last year.
While German consumer associations and health insurance companies welcome the plan, the food industry is resisting. Large international food producers Ferrero, known for Nutella, and Mondelēz (Milka) fear losing billions of euros in turnover due to the disappearance of advertisements. In addition, manufacturers complain that a ban means they have less money to innovate. “A legal ban on advertising has not yet made a child thinner,” Andreas Schubert, chairman of the ZAW advertising association, recently told the German trade magazine. Marks article.
Meanwhile, childhood obesity in Germany is on the rise. Almost 10 percent of children between the ages of 3 and 17 are overweight and 5.9 percent are even obese, reports the German Ministry of Health. The ministry writes that in addition to an unhealthy diet, a lack of exercise is to blame for the increasing population problems.
The bill for an advertising ban on unhealthy products comes at a striking time. Traditionally, Easter is an important time for producers. However, according to German minister Özdemir, the companies have failed to take action themselves. He thinks that children in Germany see or hear an average of fifteen commercials every day, which is too much.
A general advertising ban will hit the entire food industry unnecessarily hard, critics say. The new law will soon cover 70 percent of all foodstuffs, including, for example, yogurt with 3.5 percent fat. This has nothing to do with advertising for children Handelsblatt in a comment.
Yet it is not so much the food manufacturers that are in danger of falling victim to the law – or the chocolate Easter bunny in itself – but especially the large media companies RTL and Das Erste. They generate hundreds of millions of euros from advertising revenue year after year and will therefore have to miss it in the future.
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