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Brit food firms 'using misleading ads to market unhealthy snacks to kids'

By Hari Krishnan

London, Dec 14 (ANI): Food firms are marketing unhealthy snacks to children by dodging legal restrictions and making spurious health claims, according to a British Heart Foundation study.

The charity claims to expose marketing tactics companies use to advertise children's food high in fat, sugar and salt.

A report, prepared by food campaigning group The Food Commission on behalf of the BHF, said companies made claims about the quality of products to hide the true nutritional content and used selective nutritional and health information.

The report said that firms are also using "emotional insight" to empathise with mothers over the challenges of feeding a family.

It gave an example of Kellogg's Coco Pops Cereal and Milk Bars, described as the "best choice for a lunchbox treat" but which contain 41g of sugar per 100g.

Likewise, an ad for Burger King Aberdeen Angus Mini-Burgers showed a motherly figure declaring, "the lunch battle is over".

The report, which was commissioned by BHF as part of its Food 4 Thought childhood obesity campaign, also said companies were showing "misleading" adverts during shows popular with young people like the X Factor, despite regulations banning the advertising of junk food during children's programmes.

Now, the BHF is calling for a ban on all junk food television advertising before 9pm.

It also wants "consistent" junk food marketing regulations across all media and for a mandatory front of pack food labelling system to help parents understand the nutritional values of children's products.

However, food manufacturers have denied the report's findings.

"To suggest we exploit marketing loop holes as a matter of course is rubbish. Our on-pack claims are rigorous and all our marketing reflects the latest advertising codes," the Daily Express quoted a Kellogg's spokesman, as saying. (ANI)

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