Alberto Garzón speaking this Thursday. / EFE

Spain will ban the advertising of 'unhealthy' food and drinks to children

The measure could come into effect as soon as 2022 and will cover adverts on television, radio, cinema screens, social media networks and apps


The Spanish Minister of Consumer Affairs, Alberto Garzón, has announced that a royal decree will regulate the advertising of "unhealthy" food and drinks aimed at children and adolescents, and will affect advertising on television, radio, cinema screens, social media networks, websites and apps with content aimed at children under 16 years of age.

Garzón made the announcement this Thursday, 28 October, at a press conference with the city mayor, Ada Colau, in Barcelona - the World Capital of Sustainable Food 2021.

Garzón has said that the procedure will be quick and it is expected to be in place for 2022: “The work is done. We have the relevant reports to adapt the nutritional profiles of the World Health Organization (WHO) to the regulatory system and we have already spoken with the National Commission of Markets and Competition.”

40% overweight or obese

“In Spain, 23.3 per cent of children are overweight and 17.3 per cent are obese. The total exceeds 40 per cent for children aged between 6 and 9 years old. They are alarming and worrying figures,” the minister warned, adding that these figures are double among the poorest families than among the wealthiest, according to the Aladino report.

Likewise, it found evidence that the different strategies implemented for more than a decade to reduce childhood obesity and overweight, such as the Paos Self-Regulation Code established by the industry itself, has been "totally insufficient".

Vulnerable consumers

"Children are vulnerable consumers and we have an obligation to protect them from advertising", said Garzón.

The regulations will affect five categories of products that will not be allowed to advertise to minors regardless of the nutrional content. The first is that of chocolate and sugar confectionery products, energy bars and sweet toppings and desserts. It is followed by the food group that includes cakes, biscuits and other pastry products. Juices, energy drinks and ice cream make up the other three categories.