Insights Ofcom consults on approach to regulation of advertising of less healthy food and drink


Ofcom is consulting on its proposed approach to implementing new restrictions on advertising and sponsorship for less healthy food and drink products on TV, on demand, and online. The new restrictions were introduced by the UK Government through the Health and Care Act 2022, which amongst other things, amended the Communications Act 2003 to restrict the advertising and sponsorship of food and drink products that are high in fat, sale or sugar (HFSS). The new restrictions will take effect from 1 October 2025.

Once in place, TV services and on-demand programme services (ODPS) will be prohibited from including advertising and sponsorship for HFSS food and drink products between 5.30am and 9.00pm. Online paid-for advertisements for these products, where they are aimed at UK users, will be prohibited at any time.

Ofcom has, through its relationships with the ASA, BCAP and the Broadcast Standards Board of Finance, confirmed that the existing co-regulatory arrangements for TV and ODPS extend to the new restrictions.

Ofcom is also consulting on:

  • amendments to the BCAP Code and the Broadcasting Code to reflect the new restrictions that apply to advertising and sponsorship on TV; and
  • a proposal to designate the ASA as a co-regulator for the new prohibition on online advertising for less healthy food and drink products.

The closing date for responses is 21 April 2023. To access the consultation, click here.