Skip to content

Banning fast-food adverts

  • by JW

“Small, independent coffee shops would also be prevented from using social media to show off their products.”


Tis the season to consume too much:

Holiday Overeating: What It Does to Your Body

Which unfortunately adds to an already acute problem:

The UK has got a problem with its diet:

The British are fatter than the rest of Europe, says Johnson | Reuters

Britain was Europe’s fattest nation before the coronavirus crisis – does that explain the high death toll?

And the pandemic has hit the obese:

The other pandemic worsening coronavirus? Obesity.

Why COVID-19 is more deadly in people with obesity—even if they’re young | Science | AAAS


And so the UK government wants to ‘do something about it’:

New public consultation on total ban of online advertising for unhealthy foods – GOV.UK

Boris Johnson says ‘I was too fat’ as he launches anti-obesity campaign – The Washington Post

And of course, Big Food is not happy:

Kellogg’s and Britvic attack plan to ban junk food ads online – BBC News


However, it’s not just the industry which is campaigning against the proposals.

The Adam Smith Institute makes some points:



The Government wants to ban your local chippy from tweeting about its food – and nobody is talking about it.

We might find some online ads annoying, but they benefit consumers in important ways. Have you ever found out about a local restaurant or takeaway online? Or perhaps ordered a cake from a local bakery you came across on Facebook? Advertising saves us time and reduces the “search costs” of finding new places to eat or drink. There’s also compelling evidence that advertising tends to reduce prices, boost competition and increase product quality.

The proposed ban will have huge ramifications for the food and advertising industries. This is particularly true for small businesses that increasingly rely on online ads and are facing huge pressures from the Covid-19 pandemic. Research from the Internet Advertising Bureau found 69% of SMEs use online advertising (both free and paid). Of that, 64% believe digital advertising is now more important to the future of their business in recovering from the pandemic.

The Government’s definition of ‘junk food’ used for the proposed ban is laughable. Numerous everyday foods would be caught by the ban: everything from jam and yoghurt to Cornish pasties and mustard. Takeaways would be unable to post images of their food online. Small, independent coffee shops would also be prevented from using social media to show off their products.

Scrap the Ad Ban — Adam Smith Institute


There are other opinions and statistics:

86% of teens exposed to junk food ads on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter | The Drum

It is indeed more complicated:

Online junk food advertising: Could banning it tackle obesity? – BBC Science Focus Magazine

Boris Johnson’s drive to cut obesity rates ‘largely ineffective’ | Coronavirus | The Guardian