London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, has put forward plans to introduce a ban on junk food adverts being shown on London Underground. The plans are being reviewed and they could be formally approved within a week. This ban would mean that foods high in salt, sugar and fat would not be allowed to be promoted anywhere on the Transport for London network in hopes of tackling child obesity in the UK. The Food Standards Agency will ascertain whether a food is unhealthy, though it is undecided whether the ban covers junk food brands or just junk food itself.
TfL currently earns £20 million on food adverts a year and stands to lose £13 million for food adverts that break the new rules. TfL generates approximately £147 million on annual OOH ad revenue which it reinvests into public transport. Amsterdam has already implemented a similar ban earlier this year with positive results.
In Europe, the city of London has an unpopular image as being a city full of unhealthy and obese children. Last year, it was shown that 37.7% of those in primary school were obese or overweight. Sadiq Khan said “In Barking and Dagenham, something like 45 per cent of Year Six children — these are 10 and 11-year-olds — are overweight or obese. You compare that to Richmond, where it’s 23 per cent. This is an issue of social justice — you have the poorest children overweight and obese.”