BDSI expresses fears over German government plans restricting confectionery advertising

Germany’s BDSI association has expressed concerns over a draft national law that it has asserted effectively places a media ban on advertising for all confectionery and other food during evening hours, writes Neill Barston.

The organisation noted that the newly proposed legislation, presented by Federal Minister Cem Özdemir, appeared restrictive on the industry, which has already faced considerable impact from the energy crisis and wider inflation issues.

As the BDSI noted, the planned law banning advertising is set to apply between the hours of 6-11pm, applying to all forms of media including television, internet and radio.

“From our point of view, the proposals made by Federal Minister Özdemir are not proportionate and also constitutionally questionable. There are no scientific ones
Studies on the effectiveness of advertising bans on the development of children Obesity, as the ministry itself in the context of a parliamentary question
admitted,” explains Dr. Carsten Bernoth, General Manager of the BDSI.

Its concerns come in the wake of similar fears expressed by the UK’s Food and Drink Federation in response to the UK government’s planned restrictions for television and online advertising of the sweets and snacks sector. It has argued that this will be particularly negative in terms of restricting its well established marketing for the industry at a time when it is already facing major pressures.

Significantly, the BDSI added that it does not consider the planned advertising bans to be correct expedient to reduce the national obesity rates of 15% in children that has existed for many years.

“In addition, the practical impact of the proposals will also have a drastic impact on advertising overall,” says Dr. Bernoth further. An application of confectionery would be at the planned basis of the WHO Europe nutrient profile from the outset excluded. Because the WHO nutrient profiles allow for this product category basically no advertising.

Notably, Federal Minister Özdemir wants advertising for all media formats between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m banned, including products high in fat, sugar and salt. As the BDSI noted, this is not simply aimed a children, but also advertising aimed at adults, for example in formats such as family programs, sports programs etc which children watch along with adults.

In its view the proposals in their present form go too far, beyond the position of government parties SPD, Greens and FDP in the coalition agreement agreed agreements.

Moreover, the BDSI explained that food advertising is already comprehensively legal and self-regulatory in Germany regulated. In its view, further advertising bans would have significant negative consequences for the whole food industry, as well as negatively affective innovation within the sector. As the organisation noted, advertising within the sector is particularly important to ensuring the sector maintains its production volumes.

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