Disney introduces children’s advertising standards

by Keith Nunes
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BURBANK, CALIF. — The Walt Disney Company is introducing standards that will go into effect in 2015 and define the types of foods and beverages that may be advertised on the company’s media properties, which include television, radio and the Internet.

“We’ve taken steps across our company to support better choices for families, and now we’re taking the next important step forward by setting new food advertising standards for kids,” said Roger A. Iger, chairman and chief executive officer. “The emotional connection kids have to our characters and stories gives us a unique opportunity to continue to inspire and encourage them to lead healthier lives.”

The nutrition criteria used to evaluate food and beverage products eligible to be marketed on Disney media properties are based on an updated version of the nutrition guidelines the company introduced in 2006. Those guidelines established what types of food and beverage products may be featured in promotions for Disney movies and television shows as well as the types of products Disney licensed characters may be used with to market.

The updated guidelines are based on three basic questions: Do they contribute to a nutritious diet? Do they encourage children-appropriate portions? And do they limit nutrients to avoid?

Food and beverage product attributes considered contributing to a nutritious diet include fruit, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein. Child-appropriate portions will be based on calorie criteria, and nutrients that should be limited include sodium, sugar, saturated fat and trans-fatty acids.

The nutrition criteria is segmented by product categories such as “complete meal,” “mini meal,” “breakfast meal,” “main dish,” etc., and may be viewed by following this link to the Disney Nutrition Guideline Criteria.

In addition to its new advertising standards, Disney has introduced the Mickey Check tool, an icon that calls out nutritious food and menu items sold in stores, on-line, and at restaurants and food venues at its U.S. parks and resorts. The company said that by the end of 2012 the Mickey Check will appear on licensed foods products, on qualified recipes on Disney.com and Family.com, and on menus and some products at its parks and resorts.

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