So-called "wellness" foods and advertising

Meeting: 
MQT on 2018-09-13
Session date: 
September 13, 2018
Reference: 
2018/2280
Question By: 
Onkar Sahota
Organisation: 
Labour Group
Asked Of: 
The Mayor

Question

Despite marketing popularising it as a "health food", coconut oil has no proven benefits and has as many saturated fats as beef dripping and more than lard1. As well as limiting fast-food takeaways, what steps are you taking to limit misleading advertising of so-called "health" or "wellness" foods on the TfL network?

 

1 Coconut oil: are the health benefits a big fat lie? The Guardian, 9 July 2018 https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2017/jul/09/coconut-oil-debunked-health-benefits-big-fat-lie-superfood-saturated-fats-lard

Answer

Answer for So-called "wellness" foods and advertising

Answer for So-called "wellness" foods and advertising

Answered By: 
The Mayor

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the UK's independent advertising regulator, sets national guidelines on health claims in advertising.

Advertisers need to be able to substantiate any claims they make about associated health and wellbeing claims on specific products. These rules apply to all advertising carried across the TfL advertising network.

As you will know, the draft London Food Strategy recently consulted on the potential for restricting advertising on the TfL network of unhealthy food in order to help tackle London's child obesity crisis. Our consultation has only recently closed. We are now considering all the responses. As such, at this stage, we are not yet in a position to confirm what restrictions on junk food and drink advertising would involve.

I'm committed to doing all I can to help Londoners make healthy food choices for themselves and their families, which is why we're proposing this restriction and a range of other policies in my draft London Food Strategy. This is largely to help prevent childhood obesity, which I appreciate is separate to the health food market you are calling into question.