Cheese is to be treated as junk food under new advertising rules for children's television. Commercials promoting it will be banned during children's TV programmes and those with a large proportion of young viewers. The rules, which come into force this month, are part of a Government drive to reduce children's exposure to foods high in fat, salt and sugar.
Much to the disgust of its makers, cheese is to be regarded in the same light as crisps, sugary cereals and cheeseburgers. In fact, under the criteria used by the Food Standards Agency to determine junk foods, such products are actually regarded as healthier than cheese. The ban follows evidence that TV commercials have an indirect influence on what children eat and are contributing to obesity in the young.
However does one measure or substantiate the direct impact of an “indirect influence”? In General, I have always wondered just how effective television advertising really is in influencing the average person’s purchasing decisions. Simply because most of the people I have met spend a good part of their television viewing coming up with ways to avoid sitting through the ads (and that includes the tribe.)
I have been wondering what’s up with the Brits for sometime and I think I have a partial answer. The Brits are letting the children do the meal planning and then sending the kiddies out to do grocery shopping. No doubt some child psychologist has probably suggested it as a way of "empowering" a child’s self-esteem. All that "indirect influence" is directly influencing the children’s purchasing decisions. Think I am wrong? Look what foods are banned from children’s TV:
Marmite, Flora Lite, half-fat cheddar, Dairylea triangles, bran flakes, camembert, sugar-coated puffed wheat, instant hot oat cereal, Jaffa cakes, reduced calorie mayonnaise, multi-grain hoop cereal, half-fat creme fraiche, takeaway chicken nuggets, potato waffles, Greek yoghurt (from sheep's milk), ham, sausages, bacon rashers, low-fat spreads, peanuts, cashew nuts, pistachio-nuts, peanut butter, raisins, sultanas, currants, low-fat potato crisps, olive oil, butter, pizza, hamburgers, tomato ketchup, chocolate, brown sauce, cola and lemonade.And these are the "healthy" foods which are still permitted to be advertised on children’s tv:
Plain fromage frais, fish fingers, lasagne ready meals, currant buns, malt loaf, frozen roast potatoes, chicken curry with rice ready meal, frozen oven chips, sliced white bread, cottage cheese, supermarket frozen chicken nuggets, milk, brazil nuts, canned strawberries in syrup, diet cola and chocolate-flavoured milk.
I don’t know. Maybe the French, Italians or Greeks should just considering invading in order to save the palette of the average Brit because, Lord knows, they certainly seem desperate. Besides, the Brit’s are really comfy now letting someone else make basic decisions over their personal quality of life.