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Reduce the impact of marketing aimed at children (Indicator 23)
Norway has a self-regulatory scheme for the marketing of food and drink aimed at children. In addition to the self-regulatory scheme, certain aspects of marketing aimed at children and youth are regulated through other legislation, such as the Broadcasting Act, the Marketing Control Act and the Food Act.
Within the National Action Plan for a Healthier Diet (2017-2021) there is an action point to follow up on the work related the marketing of food and drink aimed at children. The period of the Action Plan has been extended to 2023.
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. 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. In addition, due diligence in marketing to youth under 16 is specified from 2019. 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 commissioned by the Ministry of Health and Care Services to carry 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. In 2019 the MFU scheme was evaluated by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health as requested by the Ministry of Health and Care Services. The evaluation provided proposals for the Ministry of Health and Care Services on discussion points for adjustments of the scheme to address the business sector.
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.
A Nordic protocol has been developed (2016) in order to conduct a survey of the marketing unhealthy food and drink aimed at children and youth. Norway has had project management. The Nordic protocol has been used as the basis for the survey of marketing of food aimed at children (2016) as a component of the evaluation of the self-regulatory scheme.
Marketing of food aimed at infants and toddlers
The World Health Organization (WHO) adopted new guidelines in 2016 for the marketing of all food products (including drink) for children under three years of age. The Norwegian National Action Plan for a Healthier Diet includes follow-up on these guidelines. In 2018, Norway participated, as one of several countries in the WHO European Region, in testing a draft nutritional profile model for use in the regulation of the marketing of food to children under three years of age.
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.