This week on Channel 10's The Project, celebrity chef and children’s health advocate Jamie Oliver called out tactics used by unhealthy food companies to deliberately target – or ‘hunt’ – children with their advertising, and said governments were too slow to take action to protect kids.
Speaking about digital billboards in the UK, Jamie said:
“We were proving that actually these companies were hunting your children. When they were queuing up for school, it was all junk food ads. The second they’ve gone to school, it all turns into BMWs, holidays, and cars.”
In Australia we know that our kids are being relentlessly targeted with this advertising in all aspects of their lives — from scrolling on social media, to watching their favourite TV shows, waiting at a bus stop to get to school, or attending sporting matches played by their favourite teams.
As Jamie says: we know marketing works. Fast food chains and soft drink companies know this too – otherwise they wouldn’t spend millions of dollars on advertising every year. As big food companies make more and more profit as a result of these sneaky advertising tactics, it is our children’s health that is at risk, now and into the future.
Watch Jamie’s call to action
But Jamie believes there’s a way to change this – and so do we!
We believe our government now has a golden opportunity to protect our kids from unhealthy food advertising, drawing inspiration from action already taken in places like the UK.
According to Jamie, government action is needed to keep up with evolving industry tactics.
“The question is when should adults, or the government, step in. The target is moving constantly. The government should be evolving constantly. My government is too slow, as is yours. The kids’ health is going down,” he said.
We know the community want to see change too, with a survey finding that 7 in 10 Australians want government to step in and protect our children from unhealthy food marketing.
Help us rally for change
If you want to see the Australian government step in, we need your help. Sign up to our Brands off our Kids! campaign to support our four actions to protect all Australian children from the processed food industry’s unhealthy food marketing:
Ensure TV, radio and cinemas are free unhealthy food marketing from 6am to 9:30pm.
Prevent processed food companies from targeting children.
Ensure public spaces and events are free from unhealthy food marketing.