Norway to ban unhealthy food adverts aimed at kids

13 June 2023

Norway’s government is to ban the advertising of food and beverage products deemed to be unhealthy targeted at the under 18 age group, reports Just Food.

The move was approved by a majority in the country’s parliament, on Friday 2 June. The ban had been proposed last month in a public health white paper. The junk food rules will come into force at the start of next year when a ban on the sale of energy drinks to people under the age of 16 will also be introduced.

What exactly constitutes unhealthy food within the terms of reference of the legislation remains unclear.

Welcoming the move in a tweet and claiming a first for the country, Mina Gerhardsen, secretary general of the country’s National Association for Public Health said: “First in the world to put the consideration of children’s health before the interests of the market players. Really something to be proud of!

Advertising bans to protect children’s health are an issue in a number of countries. The recommendations from the WHO and the UN are unequivocal that we must put this in place. We are the first to deliver on this.”

Previous attempts by Norwegian governments to introduce such a ban were met with resistance from industry and a self-regulation scheme was adopted instead.

SAFE supports this ban from Norway, as children are often the target of aggressive marketing on unhealthy and ultraprocessed food products. This is a considerable step stating that children’s health needs to be protected.

As part of its Food4Inclusion Project, SAFE actively strives to protect children from growing up in unhealthy food environments, by developing workshops and food literacy trainings on food labelling, food additives, maximum daily intakes, and their subsequent health effects (e.g., sugar overconsumption).