Unilever principles for responsible food & drink marketing
In 2003, Unilever was one of the first companies to apply its principles to the company’s marketing and advertising strategy. This framework guides brand managers working on HUL brands.
The guiding principles ensure that the brand marketing communication is appropriate. For example, in the light of obesity issues, we avoid showing over-sized portions in our advertisements. Our marketing collaterals must exclude anything that undermines the promotion of healthy, balanced diets and healthy, active lifestyles or misrepresents snacks as meals. We don’t use 'size zero' models or actors in our advertising to make sure it does not promote 'unhealthy' slimness.
We have committed to voluntarily restrict all marketing communications directed primarily to children under the age of six. We applied this measure based on increasing evidence showing that children under six do not have the cognitive ability to distinguish between advertising/marketing and programming.
For children under 12 years of age, research has also shown that marketing and advertising can influence their purchasing behaviour and short-term eating habits. So, we restrict marketing and advertising to children from the ages of six to under 12 for all products except those that meet (i) our Highest Nutritional Standards, or (ii) any common industry criteria we are committed to, such as in the India Pledge, and (iii) any criteria set by public authorities.
The ‘India Policy on Marketing Communications to Children’ commits to change food and beverage marketing communications to children under the age of 12 years in India. Member companies, as part of their global commitments, are already in the process of adopting specific voluntary policies that go beyond the Food and Beverage Alliance of India (FBAI) policy. These voluntary measures are in support of parental efforts to promote active and safe lifestyles.
FBAI member commits either to:
Only advertise products to children under the age of 12 years that meet FBAI Common Nutrition Criteria (CNC); or
Not to advertise their products at all to children under the age of 12 years.
The India Policy on Marketing Communications to children has been in effect from 31 December 2016, and the FBAI Common Nutrition Criteria has been effective from 31 December 2017.