The Federation of Canteens in Schools (FOCIS) has recently contributed to the public consultation on the feasibility study regarding options to limit unhealthy food marketing to children. This initiative, led by the Australian Government, aims to address the pervasive issue of unhealthy food advertising targeted at children and its impact on their dietary habits and overall health.

The Federation Of Canteens In Schools submission underscores the importance of reducing children’s exposure to unhealthy food marketing and the persuasive nature of these advertisements. By advocating for both short-term and medium-term objectives, FOCIS supports a comprehensive approach that not only limits unhealthy food marketing but also aims to improve children’s dietary intakes within a 3-4-year timeframe.

One of the key recommendations from FOCIS is the implementation of a mandatory legislative approach for regulating food marketing, as opposed to the current self-regulatory model governed by industry Codes of Practice. FOCIS argues that a government-led policy with robust monitoring and enforcement mechanisms is essential for achieving meaningful reductions in children’s exposure to unhealthy food marketing.

Additionally, FOCIS advocates for a government-led food classification system aligned with national dietary guidelines. This system should restrict the marketing of unhealthy food products and brands associated with these products, ensuring that marketing efforts do not undermine public health initiatives.

The federation also addresses the need for stringent restrictions on various media platforms, including TV, online, and outdoor advertising. For instance, FOCIS recommends restricting unhealthy food advertising on all broadcast media between 5:30 am and 11:00 pm, as well as placing similar restrictions on online and outdoor marketing, especially around schools and public transport corridors.

Moreover, FOCIS supports the restriction of food marketing on packaging and sponsorship of sports, arts, and cultural events, emphasizing the extensive influence these channels have on children’s perceptions and consumption patterns.

By participating in this consultation, FOCIS reiterates its commitment to fostering healthier eating environments in schools and beyond. The submission highlights the urgent need for comprehensive policy measures to protect children from the adverse effects of unhealthy food marketing, ultimately contributing to the promotion of healthier dietary habits among the younger population.