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Which? quits 'marketing in schools' Government advisory team


Sonoo Singh

Marketing Week
February 6, 2008


Which?, the lobby group, has walked out of Government talks to develop guidelines for marketing in schools, over concerns that Government strategy is not addressing the way that junk foods are being promoted in schools.

The initiative falls under Secretary of State Ed Balls' Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF), which works with the Incorporated Society of British Advertisers (ISBA) and, previously, Which?, to produce best-practice principles for schools and their commercial partners to help develop sponsored resources.

These include teaching packs and materials; sponsored activities, such as competitions and projects; and collectors schemes, for example, Cadbury’s Get Active.

But Which? chief policy adviser Sue Davies says: “At the time of our involvement with the guidelines the Government had always agreed that they would be reviewed to see if they were working.

We were particularly concerned that the guidelines were not addressing the way that foods high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) and brands associated with them were being promoted in schools. We therefore wanted the guidelines to be more specific to ensure that this was addressed. The Cadbury’s Get Active scheme, for example, went ahead despite the guidelines being in place.”

The Best Practice Guide, first introduced in 2000, specifically takes account of the Nutritional Standards for Schools Food Introduced in 2006. Under the standards, schools are not allowed to provide certain types of food and drink at any time during school hours or in vending machines. The guidelines provide a framework for schools and commercial partners to develop partnership activities.

Davies adds: “There was not agreement on this from the others, particularly from ISBA’s point of view, so we felt we could no longer be signed up to the guidelines. We asked for them (guidelines) to be reviewed as part of the broader work that had been initiated within government on the promotion of foods to children.”


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