Unilever will stop marketing food and beverages to children under 16 years old, across both traditional media and social media.
Currently, in most countries in the world, the food and beverage industry restricts marketing to children under 13 years old. In an attempt to "raise the bar" Unilever has updated its global principles for responsible marketing to children and will not be targeting children under 16 years old with any marketing.
It will not be collecting or storing data on children under 16 and will not use influencers, celebrities or social media stars who are under the age of 16 or primarily appeal to children under the age of 16.
In addition, Unilever brands will provide clear and prominent disclosure of provisions to influencers and limit child appeal to influencer content.
The consumer goods company will continue to refrain from promoting its brands or products in schools, with the exception of participation in educational campaigns, when specifically requested.
The principles will apply across Unilever's food and refreshment portfolio, which includes ice cream. The deadline for brands to comply with these further enhanced principles is January 2023.
Matt Close, president ice cream at Unilever, said: "Recognising the power that social media and influencer marketing can have on children's choices, we believe it's important to raise the bar on responsible marketing to a minimum age of 16 years old across both traditional and social media.
"By making these changes, our goal is to continue to reduce children's exposure to advertising from the food and beverage industry, and instead support parents to select appropriate treats, to be enjoyed from time to time."
In 2020, Unilever announced it will stop marketing and advertising foods and refreshments to children under the age of 12 in traditional media, and under the age of 13 via social media channels.
Unilever's marketing and point-of-sale communications comply with all relevant country laws and regulations, as well as self-regulatory codes. In the UK existing codes and laws around regulations around high fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) food and drink marketing mean that these newly announced principles are already either partially met, fully met or exceeded.
(This article first appeared on www.CampaignLive.co.uk)