Junk Food (HFSS) Adverts
Request ID: FOI-3592-1920
Date published: 20 March 2020
Can you tell me, since City Hall introduced a ban on junk foods on the Transport for London network (https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/business-and-economy/food/tfl-junk-food-ads-ban-will-tackle-child-obesity)
1) How many adverts have been banned by TfL which TfL have judged breach the rules on junk food?
2) For each of the banned adverts, can you list me the name of the advertiser and the name of the advert?
3) Can you also tell me on what particular grounds the advert was judged to be in breach of the rules?
4) Can you also tell me where the adverts were supposed to have run? ie, underground? bus shelter? taxis?
1. How many adverts have been banned by TfL which TfL have judged breach the rules on junk food?
From the 25 February 2019 to 3 March 2020, 22 campaigns have been declined outright as they do not meet the requirements of the HFSS policy.
2. For each of the banned adverts, can you list me the name of the advertiser and the name of the advert?
The names of the advertisers that did not run, and the campaign to which they relate, is commercially sensitive until the point at which the applications are approved and the campaign have run on our network. Disclosure of this information is therefore subject to a statutory exemption to the right of access to information under section 43(2). In this instance the section 43(2) exemption has been applied as disclosure would be likely to prejudice our ability to achieve best value from our advertising estate as well as affecting advertisers who wish to advertise on our estate. This information could potentially be obtained and utilised by the applicants’ competitors who may wish to use this information to gain knowledge of current and future plans, adversely affecting their ability to operate in a competitive market place.
The use of this exemption is subject to an assessment of the public interest in relation to the disclosure of the information concerned. We recognise the need for openness and transparency by public authorities, but in this instance the public interest in ensuring that we are able to achieve the best value from our advertising estate outweighs the general public interest in increasing transparency of our processes.
Additionally, details on specific applications have been withheld under section 41 of the FOI Act because the information was provided to us on the basis of an understanding that it would be held in confidence and there was no expectation that this information would be routinely made public as some applications are for new product releases. Therefore it possesses the necessary quality of confidence to justify exemption. This exemption is an absolute exemption, which is not subject to an assessment of whether the public interest favours application of the exemption.
3. Can you also tell me on what particular grounds the advert was judged to be in breach of the rules?
An advert would be considered to breach the rules and would therefore be declined for TfL assets if it does not meet the requirements of the clauses of the policy guidance notes.
The main points are:
• Products must be scored against the Public Health England Nutrient Profile Model (NPM). The nutrient values are calculated on the NPM and Food items need to score below a 4 and non-alcoholic beverages below a 1.
• If a product is compliant but is listed on the Public Health England Calorie and Sugar Reduction lists we require the client to add in a descriptor identifying the product and also a retailer/brand so it can be distinguished from a similar non-compliant product
• Compliant products that are on a reduction list must be shown in single portion sizes
• Brand only advertising for food/non-alcoholic related retailers/brands is not permitted a compliant products must always be included within the creative
4. Can you also tell me where the adverts were supposed to have run? ie, underground? bus shelter? taxis?
As declined campaigns were not booked we do not have details of where they were proposed to run.
Can I please have the information from the date the ban was brought into place and a break down by month as well.
We started keeping a specific tracker of the declined campaigns under HFSS policy in November 2019, seven campaigns were declined in this month. We do not hold information prior to this date as our Media Partners are the first point of reference and would have rejected the other campaigns. We have not declined any campaigns so far this year as we have worked with clients to ensure campaigns were compliant.
If this is not the information you are looking for please feel free to contact me.
Please see the attached information sheet for details of your right to appeal.
Senior FOI Case Officer
FOI Case Management Team
Transport for London
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