Norway has good regulatory schemes for the marketing of food and drink aimed at children.
In 2013, the Norwegian food and drink sector, in collaboration with the authorities, developed an enhanced self-regulation scheme for the marketing of food and drink aimed at children. This scheme replaced a previous voluntary scheme and came into force on 1 January 2014.
The business sector established the Food and Drink Industry Professional Practices Committee (MFU) which monitors compliance with the guidelines and enforces penalties for violations. The Norwegian Directorate of Health represents the authorities in the MFU. A website has been created which includes a complaints form, see: www.mfu.as.
MFU’s goal is to prevent the marketing of certain types of food and drink aimed at children under the age of 13. MFU’s structure comprises a secretariat, a board and a professional committee. The Norwegian Directorate of Health represents the authorities in the professional committee.
Monitoring the scheme
In connection with the introduction of the new scheme, it was announced that the MFU would be in effect for two years after which the scheme would be evaluated. The Norwegian Directorate of Health was tasked by the Ministry of Health and Care Services with carrying out the evaluation. In January 2017, the Norwegian Directorate of Health submitted its evaluation to the Ministry of Health and Care Services.
The evaluation highlighted both strengths and weaknesses in relation to the scheme. The Norwegian Directorate of Health recommended a dialogue between the authorities and the sector about how the input on improvements presented by the evaluation could be addressed by the self-regulation scheme. Dialogue with other interested parties was also recommended. The scheme will be extended and follow-up on the evaluation is under way.
In addition to MFU self-regulation, certain aspects of marketing aimed at children and adolescents are regulated by other legislation, such as the Broadcasting Act, the Marketing Control Act and the Food Act.
Norway, through the Norwegian Directorate of Health, has led and been the secretariat for the WHO European Action Network on Reducing Marketing Pressure on Children during the period 2008-2015, and continues to participate actively in the network.
Global indicator definition
Indicator 23: Policies to reduce the impact on children of the marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages high in saturated fats, trans fatty acids, free sugars, or salt.