Cartoons on children's food packaging are “irresponsible” and “exploitative”

A survey has found that cartoons are being used on food packaging to market products high in fat, sugar, and salt to children.

In response to the findings Dr Max Davie, Officer for Health Improvement at the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health (RCPCH) says:

Using cartoon characters on food packaging makes products highly attractive to children and increases the likelihood that children will pester their parents to buy them. With so many of these products being unsuitable for children because of high fat, salt or sugar content, it is irresponsible and exploitative of companies to use such manipulative marketing techniques.

Over half of the products investigated would not be eligible for broadcast or online advertising because of their ingredients, which makes a mockery of current food packaging rules. We urge the government to recognise this discrepancy and take immediate steps to tighten up food packaging legislation in order to help children and families make healthier food choices.

The survey was carried out by Action on Salt and Action on Sugar.