VEVEY, SWITZERLAND — Nestle SA recently unveiled plans to strengthen its responsible marketing practices, including implementing voluntarily restrictions on its marketing to children under the age of 16. The initiative is part of the company’s efforts “to help bring balanced diets within reach for people around the world,” Nestle said.

Under the company’s new Marketing Communication to Children policy, Nestle said it will prohibit direct advertising of confectionery and ice cream as well as water-based beverages with added sugars to children below 16 years of age. Previously Nestle had restricted marketing of indulgent products to children below 13 years of age. Additionally, the company reaffirmed its ban on product marketing communication targeting children between 0 and 6 years of age.

“This standard will be applied to TV and online platforms, including social media and gaming ones with greater than 25% of their audience under 16 years old,” Nestle noted, adding it will not collect data of minors and only partner with social media influencers over the age of 18.

Nestle said the new policy will take effect July 1, 2023, and will be applied across its global operations. The policy makes Nestle one of the first food and beverage companies to voluntarily adopt such strict standards, the company said.

“Nestle is externally recognized for its industry-leading responsible marketing practices by the Access to Nutrition Index and calls for more companies to put forward similar measures that support the well-being of children,” the company said. “Coupling existing nutrition services, educational tools and recipes with these additional safeguards helps give children and young adolescents a solid foundation for building a healthy lifestyle. Through our Nestle for Healthier Kids program and various nutrition campaigns such as ‘adopt a fruit, adopt a vegetable,’ #cooktogether and ‘healthy food for the future,’ we have made over 80 million children more knowledgeable about good nutrition, balanced diets and healthy lifestyles since 2016.”