The Walt Disney Co. will on Tuesday unveil plans to keep junk food ads off its child-focused TV networks, radio stations and Web sites, the New York Times reported.
Under the new rules designed to help fight childhood obesity, food commercials must comply with strict nutritional standards, which also apply to Saturday morning cartoons shown on ABC stations owned by the conglomerate, it said.
That means that products, such as Capri Sun drinks and Kraft Lunchables meals, which are both current Disney advertisers, would be blocked from Disney’s kids-focused media properties, according to the paper. So would a range of candy, sugared cereal and fast food. Disney’s restrictions focus on any content targeted to children under the age of 12, whether live-action programs or cartoons.
Disney chairman Bob Iger is expected to make the announcement about the new initiative in Washington with First Lady Michelle Obama.
The ban on junk food ads is part of a broader Disney commitment that will also include the promise to reduce the amount of sodium in children’s meals served at its theme parks by 25 percent, the Times said. Disney will also produce public service announcements to promote exercise and healthy eating among children.
And the company will introduce “Mickey Check” in grocery stores – Disney-licensed products that meet certain limits on calories, saturated fat, sodium and sugar and that can display a logo consisting of Mickey Mouse ears and a check mark on their packaging.
Disney acknowledged that he new initiative will most likely lead to the loss of some advertising revenue, but it wouldn’t detail how much, the Times said. The conglomerate argued though that benefits would outweigh the downside.
Iger said that health food for kids has become “a very, very solid business” for Disney. “This is not altruistic. This is about smart business.” Since 2006, consumers have bought about two billion servings of Disney-licensed fruit and vegetables, according to the company.