The food industry has voluntarily decided to start removing cartoon characters and other children’s favourites from the packaging of more unhealthy products, the Telegraaf said on Thursday.
The paper says pressure from consumers has led to the change. All products targeting children under the age of seven will be cartoon free as will snacks aimed at seven to 13-year-olds which contain a lot of salt or sugar, the paper said.
The products which will be changing their packaging include biscuits with the Buurman and Buurman cartoon characters and puddings which are promoted by the heroines of the Frozen Disney film.
A spokesman for the food industry federation FNLI said the characters will only be removed from unhealthy products. ‘We’re not going to work against tomatoes,’ a spokesman told the paper.
The spokesman said the FNLI is also looking at ways to stop manufacturers getting round the agreement. ‘There must be a level playing field,’ he said.
Henrike Crielaard of the supermarket umbrella group CBL said parents also have a role to play in ensuring children eat more healthily. ‘In addition, cartoon characters can be used in a positive way,’ he said. ‘They can be used to promote fruit and vegetables. Some chains have already made the move. Change is underway.’
Research shows that almost one in four Dutch children aged 10 to 12 are overweight and 6% are obese. Children with an immigrant background or whose parents are low-skilled are more likely to be overweight.
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