The Council of Better Business Bureaus (BBB) Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI or Initiative) and its participants accept category-specific nutritional criteria (“Criteria”) around existing company-specific nutritional standards. These criteria provide the new basis for CFBAI participants to fulfill their commitments to use only healthier products in advertisements primarily aimed at children under 12 (“Advertising”) “in children Kids”)
While existing company-specific criteria work well to improve product improvements advertised for children, participants recognized that the unified criteria have additional benefits. For example, these unified criteria respond to the recommendations of the First Lady and the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and others. In addition, the unified criteria can provide a roadmap that other food companies (or media) in the United States can use to guide their advertising practices to children and facilitate compliance.
The CFBAI criteria are organized around 10 product categories, with requirements that recognize the inherent nutritional differences between product categories (eg dairy and grains) and the role they play in the overall diet. In addition to being uniform, the new criteria are generally stricter than current standards in at least five ways. First, the new criteria remove a product from qualifying based only on a “reduced” requirement (ie ≥ 25% less sodium). Second, they are eliminating a product that is only eligible because it comes in a portion-controlled 100-calorie pack. Third, it includes calorie restrictions for all categories. Fourth, it includes food restriction criteria (NTL) for the key elements: saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, and total sugars. The fifth includes Food Components to Encourage (NCTE) (food groups and/or nutrients) for all product categories. Currently, not all participants have a standard for every element – calories, NTL and NCTE – so the new criteria fill in the gaps. The new criteria also aim to encourage the inclusion of even more nutritious foods in meals advertised for children.