The move by the 11 companies, which account for two thirds of the food and beverage advertising spend in the European Union, follows recent calls by the EU for the food industry to use commercial communications to support parents in making the right diet and lifestyle choices for their children.
Under the voluntary EU Pledge programme, participating companies will make individual commitments on food and beverage advertising to children.
The participating companies all commit to implement, no later than 31 December 2008, company-specific voluntary measures on food and beverage advertising to children. The minimum standards include a pledge not to advertise to children under the age of 12 any food and beverage products "except for products which fulfill specific nutrition criteria based on accepted scientific evidence and/or applicable national and international dietary guideline."
They must also not engage in commercial communications related to food and beverage products in primary schools except where agreed with by the school for educational purposes.
From January 2009 they group also pledge to monitor their advertising to ensure compliance. The EU Pledge initiative is open to other companies that wish to join.
Signatories to the Pledge are:
- Burger King
- General Mills