Media Releases

Parents’ Voice Media Contacts

Alice Pryor 0416 219 261 alice@parentsvoice.org.au

Luke Daley 0466 471 136 luke@parentsvoice.org.au

Media Releases 2017

Australian parents back reducing soft drink consumption

Monday 5 June 2017

Australian parents back reducing soft drink consumption

 

A report published in Medical Journal of Australia today has revealed that the total glucose concentration in Australian soft drinks in 22 per cent higher than in similar beverages in the United States of America.

Australian parents are concerned about overconsumption of sugar sweetened drinks by children. A recent survey of parents by advocacy group Parents’ Voice found that 89 per cent supported water being the standard drink offered to children by food outlets.

In April, Parents’ Voice launched an Australian first campaign: #waterwiththat. The campaign urges all signatories to the Quick Service Restaurant Initiative for Responsible Advertising and Marketing to Children (QSRI) to put water with their kids’ meals.

Alice Pryor, Campaigns Manager for Parents’ Voice, said: “Almost every second Australian child (47 per cent) is consuming at least one sugary drink every day. It is the largest source of added sugar in the Australian diet. We believe that all children should be given a head start on a healthy life. Water should be the number one drink of choice for all children.

Along with overweight and obesity concerns, tooth decay is a growing worry for Australian children and teenagers. Ms Pryor added: “Alarmingly, one in two Australian children aged 12 years will have decay in their adult teeth, with added sugar being a major factor.”

Children are particularly vulnerable to the persuasive powers of food marketing, influencing their food preferences and consumption. They are surrounded by food marketing online, while watching TV, using apps and playing games, supermarket shopping and playing sport.

Alice Pryor added “We need to address the burden that sugary drink consumption is placing on our children. Australia needs to ban junk food advertising to children and introduce a health levy on sugar sweetened beverages.”

-Ends-

Media contacts:

Luke Daley: M: 0466 471 136 E: luke@parentsvoice.org.au
Alice Pryor: M: 0416 219 261 E: alice@parentsvoice.org.au 

Note to editors:

Parents’ Voice is an online network of parents who are interested in improving the food and activity environments of Australian children. Formerly known as The Parents’ Jury, Parents’ Voice was formed in 2004 and represents thousands of Australian parents. Parents’ Voice is supported by Cancer Council Australia, Diabetes Victoria, VicHealth, YMCA Australia and the Bluearth Foundation.

Parents Pour Water on Fast Food Kids’ Meals

Thursday 6 April 2017

Parents Pour Water on Fast Food Kids’ Meals

#waterwiththat Launch at the World Congress on Public Health
7.15am, Thursday 6 April, Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre

Australian parents want water to become the standard drink offered to their children when eating out. In a Parents’ Voice survey of Australian parents, 89 per cent agreed that water should be the default option in kids’ meals.

Advocacy group Parents’ Voice presented those findings at today’s launch of the #waterwiththat campaign in Melbourne. Alice Pryor, Campaigns Manager for Parents’ Voice, said: “Our parents are sick of seeing advertisements for fast food kids’ meals that don’t match the in-store reality. These companies have pledged not to market unhealthy food and drinks to children, yet their meals come with a sugary drink as standard.”

With 47 per cent of Australian children consuming at least one sugary drink every day[i], the campaign #waterwiththat is urging all signatories to the Quick Service Restaurant Initiative for Responsible Advertising and Marketing to Children (QSRI) to put water with their kids’ meals.

Along with overweight and obesity concerns, tooth decay is a growing worry for Australian children and teenagers. “By the age of 12, one in two Australian children will have decay in their adult teeth, with added sugar being a major factor in the development of caries,” stated Clinical Associate Professor Matthew Hopcraft. “We need to address the burden that sugary drink consumption is placing on our children.”

Subway Australia is one quick service restaurant chain that has already put this idea into action. Ben Miles from Subway Australia said: “We’re proud of our Kids’ Pak – it’s a child-specific portion size, comes with water as standard and is a nutritionally balanced option, packed full of colourful vegetables, fibre, carbohydrate and lean protein. Kids’ Pak also benefits from the improvements we’ve made to transform our entire menu – a 38% reduction in sodium, low sugar and low saturated fat across the range, as well as removing artificial ingredients. We’ve been offering wholesome, nutritious choices since our founding 50 years ago, and by working alongside great organisations like Parents’ Voice, we’re able to identify improvements and continue to make positive changes for the whole family.”

Parent of two, Kristy Schirmer is worried about the constant pushing of sugary drinks on children: “I teach my kids about healthy eating and moderation, but my messages are constantly undermined by corporations and their marketing. Kids’ fast food meals could easily have water instead of sugary drink. Water should be the first choice for kids.”

Ms Pryor added: “Alarmingly, children aged 9–13 years consume 7kg of sugar from sugary drinks every year.[ii] Parents’ Voice is urging Australian fast food companies to make a simple change. Serve water.”

-Ends-

Media contacts:

Luke Daley: M: 0433 396 064 E: luke@parentsvoice.org.au
Alice Pryor: M: 0416 219 261 E: alice@parentsvoice.org.au

 

Note to editors:

Parents’ Voice is an online network of parents who are interested in improving the food and activity environments of Australian children. Formerly known as The Parents’ Jury, Parents’ Voice was formed in 2004 and represents thousands of Australian parents. Parents’ Voice is supported by Cancer Council Australia, Diabetes Victoria, VicHealth, YMCA Australia and the Bluearth Foundation.

Clinical Associate Professor Matthew Hopcraft is a public dental health expert, former President of the Australian Dental Association (Victorian Branch), and past contestant on MasterChef Australia. He co-founded SugarFree Smiles to advocate for measures to improve oral health in Australia.

Sugary drinks are defined as all sugary drinks that provide unnecessary kilojoules and have no nutritional value, such as soft drinks, energy drinks, and fruit drinks that contain added sugar.

Signatories to the QSRI are: Chicken Treat, Hungry Jacks, KFC, McDonald’s Australia, Oporto, Pizza Hut and Red Rooster.

[i] http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Lookup/4364.0.55.007main+features7102011-12

[ii]https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/E33C412F3A8760EE539F490CF517FF27/S0007114515005255a.pdf/div-class-title-dietary-intake-and-food-sources-of-added-sugar-in-the-australian-population-div.pdf

Massive treat-y: 10 health organisations join call for sugar tax

 March 2017

Massive treat-y: 10 health organisations join call for sugar tax

Ten of Australia’s leading health and community organisations have today joined forces to call on the Federal Government to introduce a health levy on sugary drinks as part of a comprehensive approach to tackling the nation’s serious obesity problem.

The 10 groups – all partners of the Rethink Sugary Drink campaign – have signed a joint position statement calling for a health levy on sugary drinks, with the revenue to be used to support public education campaigns and initiatives to prevent chronic disease and address childhood obesity.

This latest push further strengthens the chorus of calls in recent months from other leading organisations, including the Australian Medical Association, the Grattan Institute, the Australian Council of Social Services and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners.

Craig Sinclair, Chair of the Public Health Committee at Cancer Council Australia, a signatory of the new position statement, said a health levy on sugary drinks in Australia has the potential to reduce the growing burden of chronic disease that is weighing on individuals, the healthcare system and the economy.

“The 10 leading health and community organisations behind today’s renewed push have joined forces to highlight the urgent and serious need for a health levy on sugary drinks in Australia,” Mr Sinclair said.

“Beverages are the largest source of free sugars in the Australian diet, and we know that sugary drink consumption is associated with increased energy intake and in turn, weight gain and obesity. Sugary drink consumption also leads to tooth decay.

“Evidence shows that a 20 per cent health levy on sugar-sweetened beverages in Australia could reduce consumption and prevent thousands of cases of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke over 25 years, while generating $400-$500m in revenue each year to support public education campaigns and initiatives to prevent chronic disease and address childhood obesity1.

“The Australian Government must urgently take steps to tackle our serious weight problem. It is simply not going to fix itself.”

Ari Kurzeme, Advocacy Manager for the YMCA, also a signatory of the new position statement, said young Australians, people in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and socially disadvantaged groups have the most to gain from a sugary drinks levy.

“Young Australians, people in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities and socially disadvantaged groups are the highest consumers of sugary drinks. These groups are also most responsive to price changes, and are likely to gain the largest health benefit from a levy on sugary drinks due to reduced consumption2,” Ms Kurzeme said.

“A health levy on sugary drinks is not a silver bullet – it is a vital part of a comprehensive approach to tackling obesity, which includes restrictions on children’s exposure to marketing of these products, restrictions on their sale in schools, other children’s settings and public institutions, and effective public education campaigns.

“We must take swift action to address the growing burden that overweight and obesity are having on our society, and a levy on sugary drinks is a vital step in this process.”

The Rethink Sugary Drink alliance recommends the following actions to tackle sugary drink consumption:

  • A public education campaign supported by Australian governments to highlight the health impacts of regular sugary drink consumption
  • Restrictions by Australian governments to reduce children’s exposure to marketing of sugar-sweetened beverages, including through schools and children’s sports, events and activities
  • Comprehensive mandatory restrictions by state governments on the sale of sugar-sweetened beverages (and increased availability of free water) in schools, government institutions, children’s sports and places frequented by children
  • Development of policies by state and local governments to reduce the availability of sugar-sweetened beverages in workplaces, government institutions, health care settings, sport and recreation facilities and other public places.

View the position statement.

Rethink Sugary Drink is a partnership between major health organisations to raise awareness of the amount of sugar in sugar-sweetened beverages and encourage Australians to reduce their consumption. Visit www.rethinksugarydrink.org.au for more information.

The 10 organisations calling for a health levy on sugary drinks are: the Australian Dental Association, Cancer Council Australia, Dental Hygienists Association of Australia, Diabetes Australia, Heart Foundation, Kidney Health Australia, Obesity Policy Coalition, Stroke Foundation, Parents’ Voice, and the YMCA.

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Shannon Crane
Media and Communications Adviser – Cancer Council Victoria
M: 0432157270
Shannon.crane@cancervic.org.au 

Eugene Benson
Media Specialist – YMCA Victoria
M: 0418317433
Eugene.Benson@ymca.org.au

1 Veerman, J.L., et al., The Impact of a Tax on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages on Health and Health Care Costs: A Modelling Study. PLoS One, 2016. 11(4): p. e0151460. 
 2 World Health Organization, Fiscal policies for diet and prevention of noncommunicable diseases. Technical Meeting Report. 5-6 May 2015, Geneva, Switzerland. 2016, WHO: Geneva.

Australian parents urge schools and shops to go ‘nude’

Tuesday 31 January 2017

Australian parents urge schools and shops to go ‘nude’

Parent advocacy group, Parents’ Voice is calling on Australian supermarkets and schools to support efforts to improve children’s lunchboxes. Among more traditional methods, nude food days are growing in popularity with Australian families.

Nude food days are usually held by participating schools once or twice a week, encouraging lunchboxes to be free of disposable packaging. This results in lunches that are more environmentally friendly, and have less junk food.

Parents’ Voice Campaigns Manager: Alice Pryor, says “Our parents are very supportive of nude food days at schools. They reduce requests for junk food in lunchboxes, while still allowing for the occasional treat. They are a simple way to encourage more wholefoods, vegetables and fruits.”

“Parents are also calling for supermarkets to get on board. Most of the advertised back to school specials are kilojoule dense, nutrient poor packaged foods. It is just another hurdle for parents to overcome with when choosing foods for their kids’ lunchboxes.”

CEO of Nutrition Australia Vic Division: Lucinda Hancock, agrees that nude food days are part of the mix of tools that schools can use to encourage healthier food in lunchboxes.

“Only 5% of Australian children eat enough fruit and vegetables each day; yet nearly 40% of the energy they consume comes from ‘junk foods’ like – cakes, biscuits, lollies, fried foods and sugary drinks.”

“Packing a ‘nude’ food lunchbox is a great way to include more nutritious, minimally-processed foods that will fuel your child’s mind and body.”

Mrs Hancock said, “The key to packing a nutritious and ‘nude’ lunchbox that children will love is to include something from each food group: fruit; vegetables; grains or wholegrain foods; a protein food such as lean meat, fish, eggs or legumes; a dairy food, such as milk yoghurt or cheese; plus a bottle of water.”

“It’s also important to make sure your child’s food is stored safely and kept cool during the day! There are a number of great lunchboxes with compartments and reusable containers to safely store each individual item in the lunchbox,” Mrs Hancock said.

Lia Burton thinks everyday should be a nude food day. “As a mum of three, packing a nutritious lunchbox is something that is very close to my heart. I always aim to pack a nutritious lunchbox that is filled with healthy, yummy food and isn’t full of packaging. That way, I’m more confident my children will actually eat their lunch and the wrappers will not end up strewn across the playground.”

Nude food days are a positive way to encourage parents to take a moment and consider the type of food that they usually pack in their child’s lunchbox. It’s a great way to get children to try new foods, especially when the whole class is participating.”

Ms Pryor concluded “1 in 4 Australian children are overweight or obese. What children eat at school is a large potion of their daily diet. Healthy lunchboxes give them a good start to healthy habits.”

-Ends-

Media contacts:

Luke Daley 0433 396 064 luke@parentsvoice.org.au

Alice Pryor 0416 219 261 alice@parentsvoice.org.au

 

Note to editors:

Parents’ Voice is an online network of parents who are interested in improving the food and activity environments of Australian children. Formerly known as The Parents’ Jury, Parents’ Voice was formed in 2004 and represents thousands of Australian parents. Parents’ Voice is supported by Cancer Council Australia, Diabetes Victoria, VicHealth, YMCA Australia and the Bluearth Foundation.

Media Releases 2016

Parents not sweet on sugary drink ads: Fame and Shame Awards 2016

Monday 5 December 2016

Parents not sweet on sugary drink ads: Fame and Shame Awards 2016

Fame and Shame Awards: 11 am Monday 5 December at Cancer Council NSW,  153 Dowling St, Woolloomooloo NSW 2011

Sugary drinks giant Coca-Cola Australia has taken out two of three shame categories in the 2016 Parents’ Voice Fame and Shame Awards. Recognised in the categories Foul Sport and Pester Power, Coca-Cola Australia has beaten McDonald’s Australia when it comes to using shameful marketing techniques to advertise unhealthy food and drink to children.

“Parents are concerned that Coca-Cola Australia is continuing to develop marketing techniques that target children,” said Alice Pryor, Campaigns Manager for Parents’ Voice, an online network of parents with the mission to improve the food and activity environments of Australian children.

Coca-Cola’s Brotherly Love television commercial took out the Pester Power award. Featuring an adolescent boy and his relationship with his cool, coke drinking big brother, this ad puts a question mark over the company’s claim of not marketing directly to children.

The Foul Sport award sees Cola-Cola again shamed for their Powerade Ion4 Olympic campaign. Hydrating Our Olympians featured Australian Olympian and NBA star Andrew Bogut, and was judged to be the worst for sending a misleading message to children that consuming unhealthy products is consistent with a sporting career and healthy lifestyle.

“Parents are not happy that Australian sport is dominated by junk food and sugary drink advertising,” Alice Pryor said. She highlights that parents are frustrated by the continued connection between junk food and sport. “Watching sport, and in this case the Rio Olympics, as a family, should be a time free from unhealthy influences.”

Nestlé’s MILO picked up the final shame award, winning the Digital Ninja award for their MILO Champions Band. Aimed at children aged 6 to 12, the activity tracker syncs with the MILO Champions app, tracking activity and nutrition, leading children to believe that MILO is an integral part of healthy living despite being almost 50 per cent sugar.

While Parents’ Voice and its supporting partners have expressed their concerns following the announcement of the shame awards, it was not all bad news. A number of household names are demonstrating efforts to encourage children to adopt healthy food and drink choices.

Wendy Watson, Nutrition Program Manager at Cancer Council NSW said: “In good news for Woolworths, two of its campaigns went head-to-head for the Parents’ Choice – Food fame award. In the end, their Free Fruit for Kids campaign with Jamie Oliver was a clear winner with parents, with the vote showing parents love the television commercial and the program.”

“With 1 in 4 Australian children overweight or obese, it’s good to see a major supermarket chain leading the way to counter pester power by providing a healthy option for kids while mum or dad does the shopping.”

For the first time, there was a special fame category for advertisements that encourage physical activity. The Australian Government’s Girls Make Your Move campaign picked up the inaugural Parents’ Choice – Physical Activity award, leaving competing ads, NAB and AFL’s Mini Legends and Woolworth’s Grown in Australia, Picked for Rio, equal runners up.

Mum, Charlie Daley, voted for Girls Make Your Move, the ad encouraging her to help her daughter to be more active. “As children get older it can become more difficult to keep them moving,” she said. “This campaign reminds girls that physical activity and sport are fun and social.”

Alice Pryor added: “To have two fame categories, and so many nominations, is a positive step, but shame awards and nominations still outweigh them. It is encouraging to see more debate about the wider concerns of junk food marketing to children and its association with a rise in the consumption of unhealthy food and drink. More information and media coverage of the issues helps to equip parents with the facts, see beyond the hype, and call for better regulatory guidelines and protection for their children.”

-Ends-

Media contacts:

Luke Daley: M: 0433 396 064 E: luke@parentsvoice.org.au
Alice Pryor: M: 0416 219 261 E: alice@parentsvoice.org.au
Laura Cairnduff T: (02) 9334 1408 M: 0413 889 283 E: laurac@nswcc.org.au
Deahna Voulgaris T: (02) 9334 1871 M: 0431 727 080 E: deahna.voulgaris@nswcc.org.au

Notes to Editor

Parents’ Voice is an online network of parents who are interested in improving the food and activity environments of Australian children. Formerly known as The Parents’ Jury, Parents’ Voice was formed in 2004 and represents thousands of Australian parents. Parents’ Voice is supported by Cancer Council Australia, Diabetes Victoria, VicHealth, YMCA Australia and the Bluearth Foundation.

Cancer Council NSW is a key partner in the Fame & Shame Awards and a supporter of Parents’ Voice.

About the Fame and Shame Awards

Parents’ Voice Fame and Shame Awards aim to raise awareness of the persuasive and misleading techniques that advertisers use to promote unhealthy foods and drinks to children, and to recognise advertisements that promote healthy food to children in a fun and appealing way.

Since 2005, the Awards have given Australian parents a chance to have their say about the food marketing techniques they believe are targeting their children.

Members of Parents’ Voice have been nominating examples of the best and worst children’s food marketing campaigns throughout the year. Members then voted on the shortlisted ads to determine the winner.

List of award nominees and winners (Videos individually linked and are available via dropbox)

 

Shame Foul Sport: For a company, team or athlete who uses sport to promote unhealthy food and drinks to influence children. Kids to Rio #FriendsWin – McDonald’s Australia

MILO Champions Soccer – NestlèGold Actions – Coca-Cola Australia

 

Winner Powerade Ion4 Hydrating Our Olympians – Coca-Cola Australia

 

Shame Pester Power: awarded to the food marketing campaign that uses techniques which appeal to children, leading to them nagging their parents for unhealthy foods. Secret Life of Pets Happy Meal – McDonald’s Australia

Being a Kid Never Changes – Natural Confectionary Company (Mondelēz International)

Shapes The Choice Is Yours – Arnott’s

 

Winner – Brotherly Love – Coca Cola Australia

 

Shame Digital Ninja: given to the brand which has used digital media in the most obvious way to target children, gaining their attention; driving active participation in the brand and encouraging pester power. World of Paddle Pop Online Game – Streets (Unilever)

McDonald’s Snapchat Lens – McDonald’s Australia

 

Winner – Milo Champions Band: Activity Tracker and App – Nestlè

Fame Parents’ Choice – Food: congratulates a food advertisement that promotes healthy eating to children in a fun and appealing way. Aussie Kids are Weet-Bix Kids – Sanitarium

Nature’s Non-Stop Energy Snack G – Australian Bananas

Half time oranges – Woolworths

 

Winner – Free Fruit for Kids – Woolworths and Jamie Oliver

Fame Parents’ Choice – Physical Activity: awarded to an advertisement that encourages children to get moving. Grown in Australia, Picked for Rio – Woolworths

NAB Mini Legends – Australian Football League and National Australia Bank

 

Winner – Girls Make Your Move – Australian Government

 

 

Supermarket Toddler Meals Judged To Be Too Salty

Sunday 21 August 2016.

Supermarket Toddler Meals Judged To Be Too Salty

Many Australian toddlers are consuming their recommended daily salt intake in just one sitting, an examination of supermarket toddler meals has found. Salty foods accustom the tastebuds to salt and excess sodium intake from salt is linked to high blood pressure and increased risk of stroke and heart attacks in adulthood.

A range of prepared toddler meals investigated by nutritionist Dr Rosemary Stanton and advocacy group Parents’ Voice, have failed the Food Detectives’ test with products found to contain too much sodium for young children.

Dr Stanton questioned the use of added salt in Only Organic Vegetable Macaroni Cheese, Only Organic Beef Bolognese Pasta and Heinz Little Kids Ravioli Bolognaise.

“Latest health advice discourages parents from adding salt when they’re cooking at home for toddlers. Adding salt to products marketed to children is unwise and unnecessary.”

Dr Stanton was also concerned with the sodium content in foods marketed for toddlers such as Only Organic Vegetable Macaroni Cheese (273mg), Annabel Karmel Cheeky Chicken & Pumpkin Risotto (230mg) Heinz Little Kids Ravioli Bolognaise (220mg) and Annabel Karmel Beautiful Bolognese Pasta Bake (202mg) per serve

“The Nutrient Reference Value for sodium consumption for Australian children aged 1 to 3 years is 200-400mg per day. It would be hard for parents to keep their children’s sodium consumption to recommended levels if these types of products are consumed regularly.

“These meals are not difficult to prepare and could feature as regular family meals. The Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend that by the age of 12 months, toddlers should be consuming a wide variety of nutritious food as enjoyed by the rest of the family. It is not a good idea to encourage parents/carers, or children themselves, to consume food that’s different to the family’s normal diet. This can result in the development of poor eating habits.”

Another concerning addition was the use of apple juice concentrate and apple juice in the Annabel Karmel meals examined. “These add sugar and accustom young palates to a sweeter taste, but won’t add any significant nutrient content,” Dr Stanton added.

Alice Pryor, Campaigns Manager for Parents’ Voice is concerned that the availability of these products, which are not healthier choices, will reinforce the message that toddlers need special food.

“Parents want to give their children the best start to life, and these products lead parents to believe they are healthy and nutritional meals for their children when many of them are actual laden with hidden salt and sugar. In particular, both Annabel Karmel meals proudly proclaim ‘low in sodium’ on the front of the pack, a claim we think is misleading.

“Most parents of toddlers would struggle to find time in the supermarket to read and compare the small print on the backs of these products. Parents’ Voice is calling on Only Organic, Heinz, and Annabel Karmel to reformulate these products and ensure that their marketing claims are more closely matched to the reality.”

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Media contact: Alice Pryor 0416 219 261 alice@parentsvoice.org.au

Notes to Editor

Alice is available for interview, Sunday 21 August at the Parents’ Voice stand at the Pregnancy, Baby and Children’s Expo in Melbourne.

Parents’ Voice is an online network of parents who are interested in improving the food and activity environments of Australian children. Formerly known as The Parents’ Jury, Parents’ Voice was formed in 2004 and represents thousands of Australian parents. Parents’ Voice is supported by Cancer Council Australia, Diabetes Victoria, VicHealth, YMCA Australia and the Bluearth Foundation.

Products were purchased at a Melbourne metro supermarket on 03/08/2016

 

Sugar Rush – Popular breakfast products not a good start to the day!

Date: 13 April 2016

Sugar Rush – Popular breakfast products not a good start to the day!

 

Many Australian children are starting the day with breakfast products that contain too much salt and sugar, adding plenty of kilojoules, but little nutritional value to their daily food intake.

A range of popular breakfast products examined by nutritionist Dr Rosemary Stanton and advocacy group Parents’ Voice have failed the Food Detectives’ test, with the majority exceeding recommended guidelines for added salt and sugar.

Dr Stanton looked at a range of breakfast products in three categories: drinks, biscuits and cereal. Marketed as fast and convenient options, breakfast drinks and breakfast biscuits represent a growing segment of the market, aimed at people who want to eat ‘on the go’.

Dr Stanton examined two breakfast drinks: Sanitarium Up & Go and My Yummy Lunchbox Breakfast Shake. My Yummy Lunchbox Breakfast Shake’s label promotes itself as “I’m Super Cool” and claims it contains “ancient grains” and vitamins. The quantities of ‘ancient’ grains are insignificant and no quantities of vitamins and minerals are listed.

Dr Stanton highlighted the poor nutritional value of breakfast drinks: “These drinks are dominated by added sugars and are not the way to establish healthy breakfast habits for children. They may give the impression they are nutritious but really, these products are no better than sweetened flavoured milk.”

Popular brands of breakfast biscuits fared no better under the Food Detectives’ microscope. Red Tractor Brekky Bikks, Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain Bars and My Yummy Lunchbox Breakfast Biscuits were all judged by Dr Stanton to be unsuitable breakfast options: “They are basically biscuits and not a satisfactory choice for a child’s breakfast. They are certainly not an appropriate substitute for a bowl of healthy cereal with milk and fruit.”

Parents also have to look beyond the marketing claims when choosing breakfast cereal. Food Detectives focused on Kellogg’s Rice Bubbles, Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain and Sanitarium Weet-Bix for Kids. Dr Stanton said: “Although preferable to the breakfast biscuit option because they are mostly consumed with milk, two of the cereals contained high amounts of sugar and were poor sources of dietary fibre. At least the Sanitarium Weet-Bix for Kids scored highly.

Despite a recent reformulation of Nutri-Grain, which has reduced the sugar and salt content, parents need to check nutritional content labels, as the product still contains 26.7 grams of sugar per 100 grams: “I doubt parents would allow children to add so much sugar to their breakfast, so it’s unfortunate to see over a quarter of Nutri-Grain is added sugar! I would not recommend it as part of a healthy breakfast for children,” added Dr Stanton.

Alice Pryor, Campaigns Manager for Parents’ Voice, is concerned that many popular breakfast products actually have little nutritional value: “Parents who want to give their children the best start for the day can choose from an increasing variety of products that claim to be a convenient and healthy breakfast. Retailers clearly understand the importance of ‘health claims’ on their products. Before its most recent reformulation, Nutri-Grain did not display a Health Star Rating on its box.

Ms Pryor added: “While tools such as Health Star Ratings can be useful, parents need to get into the habit of checking individual labels and aim for breakfast products with less sugar and salt and more dietary fibre. A healthy cereal served with milk, or for those times when you are in a great hurry, a piece of fruit and glass of milk would be a better option than products that are little better than biscuits or sugary drinks.”

-Ends- 

Media contact: Alice Pryor        0416 219 261 alice@parentsvoice.org.au

Angela Mallon   0404 570 525 angela@parentsvoice.org.au

 

 

 

Notes to Editor

 

Parents’ Voice is an online network of parents who are interested in improving the food and activity environments of Australian children. Formerly known as The Parents’ Jury, Parents’ Voice was formed in 2004 and represents thousands of Australian parents. Parents’ Voice is supported by Cancer Council Australia, Diabetes Victoria, VicHealth, YMCA Australia and the Bluearth Foundation.

 

Parents support Jamie Oliver’s call for Australia to get on board with sugary drink tax

Date: 17 March 2016

Parents support Jamie Oliver’s call for Australia to get on board with sugary drink tax

Children’s advocacy group, Parents’ Voice, applauds the UK government’s decision on Wednesday to levy a tax on sugar sweetened drinks, planned to kick off in 2018.

Calling for a similar levy to be introduced in Australia, Parents’ Voice Campaigns Manager Alice Pryor echoed celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s call for countries like Australia to “pull your finger out” and apply the tax in Australia also.

Australia is currently in the top ten countries for per capita consumption of soft drinks with 47% of children consuming sugar sweetened beverages (including energy drinks) every day.[1] Evidence from countries like Mexico, which has an existing levy on sugary drinks, suggests that a well-designed sugary drinks tax is likely to reduce consumption levels across the population.

Ms Pryor congratulated the UK government for taking this step forward for the health of their nation: “Regular consumption of sugar sweetened beverages is linked to obesity which in turn increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and some cancers. It’s shocking that almost half of Australian children consume sugar sweetened beverages every day. Australia needs to act to ensure the health of our future generations.”

Ms Pryor added: “Taxes such as the one proposed by the UK are likely to have the additional benefit of promoting reformulation of these types of drinks by the beverages industry. The public health consensus is that introducing a sugary drinks tax in Australia would be an important piece of a comprehensive obesity prevention and education strategy, with benefits for the long-term health of our children.”

-Ends-

Media contact:

Angela Mallon          0404 570 525 angela@parentsvoice.org.au

Alice Pryor                0416 219 261 alice@parentsvoice.org.au

Notes to Editor

  • Parents’ Voice is an online network of parents who are interested in improving the food and activity environments of Australian children. Formerly known as The Parents’ Jury, Parents’ Voice was formed in 2004 and represents thousands of Australian parents. Parents’ Voice is supported by Cancer Council Australia, Diabetes Victoria, VicHealth, YMCA Australia and the Bluearth Foundation.
  • Britain’s sugary drinks levy will begin in 2018 and drinks with more than 8 grams of sugar per 100 millilitres will be taxed at a higher rate than drinks with less than 5 grams of sugar per 100 millilitres.
  • Alice Pryor, Campaigns Manager of Parents Voice and mother to two young children, is available for interview/picture opportunities.

[1] Mortensen A. The role of beverages in the diet of Australian children. Analysis and summary report commissioned by the Australian Beverages Council. Australia, 2010: 1–15

Media Releases 2015

Not so happy: McDonald’s not lovin’ Fame and Shame Awards

 Tuesday 8 December 2015

Not so happy: McDonald’s not lovin’ Fame and Shame Awards

Fame and Shame Awards: 10.30 am Tuesday 8 December at State Library Victoria, 328 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000

Maintaining their 10 year ‘winning’ streak, McDonald’s Australia took out three ‘Shame’ awards in this year’s Parents’ Voice Fame and Shame Awards. They crowned their efforts by winning a special “Worst of the Decade” award, for the company most often nominated for marketing junk food to kids over the last 10 years.

Also a clear winner in the Digital Ninja and Pester Power Awards, parents believe that McDonald’s Australia is continuing to develop marketing techniques that target children. McDonald’s Happy Reader promotion offered kids a selection of free books and digital readers with the purchase of a McDonald’s Happy Meal. Parents are particularly concerned that to collect all 10 books and 16 digital readers, children would have needed to consume 23 Happy Meals in an eight week period!

Traditional TV advertising where the ‘Happy Meal’ character played a starring role in a clip from the Minions movie saw McDonald’s pick up the Pester Power Award.

Alice Pryor, Campaigns Manager for Parents’ Voice, believes that parents are frustrated with the lack of change in the way junk food companies target children, “It’s very disappointing that so little progress has been made in the last decade. In fact, many parents fear that it’s worse than ever as junk food companies now use digital and social media to direct their junk food products to children. There is virtually no regulation around advertising using social media, so companies are developing games, apps, or Facebook sites using junk food products as the ‘hero’ character and designing them to appeal to kids and teenagers.

“Protecting children from being bombarded by junk food marketing is no longer achieved by simply turning off the TV! Parents need to be constantly vigilant about a digital world that surrounds kids, is mobile and is the perfect tool for promoting junk food products.”

Parents also have to be careful about ‘health claims’ that are used to market unhealthy food. Coca-Cola Amatil launched Coke Life in 2015 amid a flurry of healthier option claims that did not fool parents who voted it winner of the Smoke and Mirrors category.

Mother of two, Cheryl McLeod, from Melbourne, is annoyed that unhealthy products are marketed using language that suggests they are healthier than they are, “I voted for Coke Life, because it is promoted as a healthier option. You have to look past the green coloured packaging and study the label to realise that there are 10 teaspoons of sugar in a 600ml bottle!”

Sport is another favourite target of the junk food industry. KFC’s sponsorship of the Big Bash League got parents’ vote for the Foul Sport Award. Up against stiff competition from McDonald’s sponsorship of junior sport and a Gatorade commercial featuring Gary Ablett, KFC was judged to be the worst for sending a misleading message to children that consuming unhealthy products is consistent with a sporting career and healthy lifestyle.

In good news for the ABC, two of its programs went head to head for the inaugural Media Spotlight Award, for programs highlighting inappropriate marketing claims to children. Finishing in front by a whisker was Charlie Pickering’s The Weekly, which featured a comprehensive look at the state of junk food advertising and regulation in Australia and its relationship to childhood obesity. Gruen was a commendable second for its November 4 segment which framed the issue of marketing to kids, highlighting pester power and the use of children’s TV characters.

Nutrition Australia and Produce Marketing Association (ANZ) was commended in the Parents’ Choice Award for their fun Pick Right. Feel Bright! campaign which features The Wiggles as ambassadors and  encourages families to choose fresh fruit and vegetables over processed foods, to increase healthy eating and improve health.

Presenting the Awards, Dr Alessandro Demaio, Co-Founder of global social change movement, NCDFREE and festival21, said, “The leading causes of global deaths are Non-Communicable Diseases including type 2 diabetes, cancers and heart disease. An unhealthy diet is a leading risk factor for disease and when one in four Australian children is overweight or obese, these examples of junk food marketing to kids are frankly appalling. ‘Big Food’ companies are not interested in our children’s health, they are interested in getting us to consume more of their products and increase profits by whatever means necessary. It’s essential that we all understand the facts, and see through their smoke and mirror tactics to deter public focus on regulation.”

Ms Pryor added. “It’s sad that 10 years on we still need the Fame and Shame Awards, but two ‘Fame’ awards this year is a positive step. It is encouraging to see more debate about the wider concerns of junk food marketing to children and its association with a rise in the consumption of unhealthy food. More information and media coverage of the issues help to equip parents with the facts, see beyond the hype, and call for better regulatory guidelines and protection for children.”
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Media contact:

Angela Mallon           0404 570 525 angela@parentsvoice.org.au

Alice Pryor                 0416 219 261 alice@parentsvoice.org.au

 

Notes to Editor

Fame and Shame Awards: 10.30 am Tuesday 8 December at State Library Victoria, 328 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000

Parents’ Voice is an online network of parents who are interested in improving the food and activity environments of Australian children. Formerly known as The Parents’ Jury, Parents’ Voice was formed in 2004 and represents thousands of Australian parents. Parents’ Voice is supported by Cancer Council Australia, Diabetes Victoria, VicHealth, YMCA Australia and the Bluearth Foundation.

List of award nominees and winners

Nominees and winners ads and segments are linked to dropbox, where available. 

Digital Ninja

Happy Readers – McDonald’s Australia

Fandangles – Peter’s Ice Cream

Whizz Fizz – Fyna Foods

Winner – Happy Readers – McDonald’s Australia

Pester Power

Minions Happy Meal – McDonald’s Australia

Allen’s Makes Smiles – Allen’s Lollies, Nestlé

Made for Kids – Kinder Chocolate, Mondelez Made for kids

Winner – Minions Happy Meal – McDonald’s Australia

Smoke and Mirrors

Coke Life – Coca-Cola Australia

The Right Kinda Nuts – Kraft, Mondelez

Pack a Little Joy – LCM – Kellogg’s

Winner – Coke Life – Coca-Cola Australia

Foul Sport

Fuelling Future, Gary Ablett – Gatorade – Schweppes Australia

Macca’s Junior Sports Grants – McDonald’s Australia

Sponsorship of Big Bash League  – KFC Australia

Winner – Sponsorship of Big Bash League  – KFC Australia

Parents’ Choice

Pick Bright. Feel Right! – Nutrition Australia, Produce Marketing Association Australia and New Zealand and The Wiggles

Finish with the Right Stuff – New South Wales Health

National Walk Safely to School Day – Pedestrian Council of Australia

Winner – Pick Bright. Feel Right! – Nutrition Australia, Produce Marketing Association Australia and New Zealand and The Wiggles

Media Spotlight

Minions and Junk Food – Gruen (ABC – 4 November 2015)

Junk Food Advertisements – The Weekly (ABC – 10 June 2015)

Winner – Junk Food Advertisements – The Weekly

Worst of the Decade

Kellogg’s
McDonald’s Australia

Winner- McDonald’s Australia

Victory for parents as Coca-Cola slide gets the push

Date: Wednesday 14 October 2015

Victory for parents as Coca-Cola slide gets the push

Drinks retailer Coca-Cola Amatil and Sydney Olympic Park management have responded to calls from parents to stop marketing sugary drinks to kids at the Sydney Olympic Park Splash Festival.

For the last 15 years, the Splash Festival event has featured a giant inflatable slide with two Coca-Cola bottles at the bottom, clearly promoting the sugary drink to children taking part in the festival. Advocacy group, Parents’ Voice, formerly known as The Parents’ Jury, contacted the organisers and Coca-Cola Amatil, asking that the promotional items be removed and that the drinks retailer and venue immediately cease promoting sugary drinks to children who attend the event.

Parents’ Voice is delighted that both Sydney Olympic Park and Coca-Cola Amatil have positively reacted to its request and have agreed to remove the promotional slide from future events.

Alice Pryor, Campaigns Manager for Parents’ Voice, said: “This is a real victory for parent power. The slide was brought to our attention by one of our members who saw the Coca-Cola bottles and felt that it was completely inappropriate to market sugary drinks to young children at this family event.

“When we drew the issue to the attention of Coca-Cola Amatil and Sydney Olympic Park, we pointed out that one in four Australian children are obese or overweight and that sugary drinks play a major part in weight gain and tooth decay in children. Our members also believe that venues such as Sydney Olympic Park should be a safe space where children are not subjected to this type of promotion.”

Mum of two from Hurlstone Park, Sydney, Lynne Scouller, did not want to see the Coca-Cola slide as part of the aquatic centre activities: “The Splash Festival is a great event for children during the school holidays and parents love to see kids take part in physical activity. However, we also educate our children about the consequences of consuming sugary drinks and don’t want to see them promoted at fun, family events like the Splash Festival.”

Ms Pryor added: “Our members are concerned about the environmental causes of obesity in children and we are very encouraged to see Coca-Cola Amatil and Sydney Olympic Park acting responsibly by responding to our call to remove this slide. We would like to see an end to all marketing of sugary drinks to children and we applaud this positive step of removing the promotional slide.”

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Media contact:

Angela Mallon 0404 570 525 angela@parentsvoice.org.au

Alice Pryor       0416 219 261 alice@parentsvoice.org.au

Notes to Editor

Parents’ Voice is an online network of parents who are interested in improving the food and activity environments of Australian children. Formerly known as The Parents’ Jury, Parents’ Voice was formed in 2004 and represents thousands of Australian parents. Parents’ Voice is supported by Cancer Council Australia, Diabetes Victoria, VicHealth, YMCA Australia and the Bluearth Foundation.

 

Coca-Cola’s giant belly flop at the Sydney Splash Festival

25 September 2015

Coca-Cola’s giant belly flop at the Sydney Splash Festival

Parents want drinks retailer Coca-Cola Amatil to stop marketing sugary drinks to kids at the Sydney Olympic Park Splash Festival this weekend.

One of the highlights of the Splash Festival is a giant slide which has two enormous inflatable Coca-Cola bottles at the bottom, clearly promoting the sugary drink to children taking part in the festival.

The Splash Festival will take place on Sunday 27 September at the Aquatic Centre and is promoted by Sydney Olympic Park as “the ultimate family fun day with non-stop entertainment”.

Parents are demanding that Sydney Olympic Park and Coca-Cola Amatil remove the inflatable promotional items from the festival and immediately cease marketing sugary drinks to children who will attend the event.

Alice Pryor, Campaigns Manager for The Parents’ Jury, said: “Coca-Cola is clearly using these giant inflatable bottles to market its sugary drink to young children. We know that one in four Australian children are obese or overweight and that sugary drinks play a major part in weight gain and tooth decay in children. Public health campaigns have done a lot of good work in educating the community and children about the consequences of consuming sugary drinks. This kind of marketing to kids in 2015 is completely unacceptable.

“Parents are also annoyed that Sydney Olympic Park has allowed this type of marketing to take place in a public aquatic centre which should be a safe space where children are not subjected to this type of promotion,” said Ms Pryor.

Mum of two from Hurlstone Park, Sydney, Lynne Scouller, is unhappy with the Coca Cola slide: “The Splash Festival is a great event for children during the school holidays and parents love to see them take part in fun physical activities. However, associating these giant Coca-Cola bottles with fun times and being active, when we know that the real thing is packed full of sugar is not the message I want my kids to receive.”

Ms Pryor added: “Using these branded inflatable bottles at the Splash Festival means that Coca-Cola Amatil is arguably in breach of its own Advertising and Promotion to Children Policy. Obesity in children is a huge problem for our society and we need drinks retailers and venue organisers to act responsibly by not promoting unhealthy sugary drinks to children.”

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Media contact
Angela Mallon 0404 570 525 amallon@diabetesvic.org.au
Alice Pryor 0416 219 261 alice@parentsjury.org.au

Parents throw the book at McDonald’s Happy Readers promotion

Monday 17 August

Parents throw the book at McDonald’s Happy Readers promotion

Parents are calling for an end to a McDonald’s Happy Meal promotion, launched in Australia at the start of August this year.

Children’s health advocacy group, The Parents’ Jury has submitted a complaint to the Advertising Standards Bureau calling for an end to the Happy Readers promotion.

Parents are particularly concerned about the digital element of the promotion, centred on an app called Happy Readers. The Happy Readers promotion gives children free books with the purchase of a McDonald’s Happy Meal. There are 10 hard copy books and 16 digital readers to collect in the series. The app is preloaded with 3 free titles, but to access other titles in the series, users have to input a unique code only obtained through purchasing a McDonald’s Happy Meal.

Alice Pryor, Campaigns Manager for The Parents’ Jury, said: “This app is clearly designed to appeal to, and be easily operated by, young children. What worries parents is the fact that the in-app bookstore and the Happy Meal box clearly display the titles that the child has yet to collect. To collect all 10 books and 16 digital readers, children would need to consume 23 Happy Meals in an 8 week period. That’s a lot of fast food in just two months and is certainly not recommended for healthy eating!

“It also concerns us that the in-app bookstore features the Happy Meal box character and although the Happy Meal highlighted in the app is a ‘heathier choice’, unfortunately, when a Happy Meal is purchased in store, the default food option is not usually the ‘healthier choice’.”

Mum of two from Melbourne, Cheryl McLeod, is unhappy about the McDonald’s promotion: “I hate the connotation that children can be “Happy Readers” while eating unhealthy food. This app is exploiting the fact that most parents will encourage reading and are happy to see children excited about collecting new titles. Children’s brains need nutritious food to develop properly and provide the concentration needed to read books, not the regular consumption of fast food that collecting this series of digital books encourages.”

McDonald’s has previously come under fire from health groups for its marketing of Happy Meals through toy giveaways, often linked to popular children’s movies. Promoting Happy Meals through digital media is a worrying development for parents as this is an area with little or no mandatory regulation.

Ms Pryor added: “McDonald’s is a fast food restaurant franchise, whose business is selling food not toys or books. Promotions which include a free toy or book with a meal entice children to request food and beverage products from McDonald’s and are not responsible marketing.”

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Media contact

Angela Mallon 0404 570 525 amallon@diabetesvic.org.au
Alice Pryor 0416 219 261 alice@parentsjury.org.au

Complaint letter to Advertising Standards Bureau

Not recommended – ‘healthy’ snacks fit for bins, not lunchboxes

23 June 2015

Not recommended – ‘healthy’ snacks fit for bins, not lunchboxes

Popular children’s lunchbox snacks have come under fire from one of Australia’s leading nutritionists, Dr Rosemary Stanton, for misleading parents with ‘health washing’ claims.

As part of a Food Detectives campaign run by children’s health advocacy group, The Parents’ Jury, Dr Stanton examined the nutritional composition of popular snack foods that parents thought were healthy lunchbox choices. Many of the seemingly healthy snacks were found to be too high in sugar or salt and most provided very little dietary value.

“I am astounded by the potentially misleading statements on the packaging of these products such as “sweetened with fruit”, “50% less fat” and “superfood”. When coupled with images of fruit or kids being physically active it is no surprise that some parents believe they are sending their children off to school with a healthy lunch box,” said Dr Stanton.

Out of the six products assessed, Uncle Toby’s Muesli Bar – Yoghurt Topps (Mango and Passionfruit) was deemed the worst offender. “Using yoghurt and fruit in the name of the product sounds healthy, but the yoghurt is a ‘compound’, with sugar and vegetable fat as the two major ingredients while mango and passionfruit make up a mere 3 percent of the product. The bars also have more than 30 ingredients including a variety of additives and preservatives, some of which are known to trigger asthma in susceptible children.

Another gripe of nutritionists is the use of Percentage Daily Intake (%DI) figures, “With a product clearly designed for children, the %DI figures, which are designed for adults, are confusing and should not be included,” Dr Stanton said.

Melbourne mum of two, Cheryl McLeod, said, “I often pop a muesli bar or yoghurt-coated snack into the kids’ lunchboxes because I thought they were a better option than chocolate bars or chips. However, Dr Stanton’s comments confirm that parents have to check the labels even when snacks appear to be healthy. A few of our regular snacks will now go in the bin instead of the lunchbox!”

Alice Pryor, Campaigns Manager for The Parents’ Jury says marketing claims around many children’s snack products have the potential to mislead parents, “Products which use phrases such as ‘made with whole grains’, ‘lunchbox friendly’ and ‘tastes good, naturally’ are designed to give the impression that they are ideal lunch options, when often they are not. In addition, many of these products are located in the ‘so called’ health food aisles which reinforces an image of ‘healthiness’.”

“Tools such as the new Health Star Ratings are useful in comparing the healthiness of like products, but parents need to get into the habit of checking individual labels and aim for snacks with less sugar; better still, select whole fruit and unsweetened yoghurt for lunch snacks,” said Ms Pryor.

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Media contact: Alice Pryor 0416 219 261 alice@parentsjury.org.au

Notes to Editor

  • The Parents’ Jury is an online network of parents, grandparents and carers, who are interested in improving the food and physical activity environments of Australian children.
  • It’s supported by Cancer Council Australia, Diabetes Victoria, VicHealth, YMCA Victoria and the Bluearth Foundation
  • More information on the products examined

McDonald’s slammed for rebates to schools when students buy fast food

Tuesday 17 February 2015

McDonald’s slammed for offering cash rebates to schools when students buy fast food

Health groups have today condemned McDonald’s for seeking to promote its unhealthy products to children in schools, kindergartens and early childhood centres.

Members of the Mildura community were dismayed to find that McDonalds had written to schools in the community encouraging them to have McDonald’s products, including burgers, fries, nuggets and desserts, delivered to their students, with incentives for participation such as cash rebates and free drinks.

The letter, which was passed on to The Parents’ Jury and the Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) by a concerned Mildura parent, outlines the ‘McDonald’s School Support Program’ where food can be ordered for lunch days, fundraisers, end of term treats and for school excursions and functions.
Campaign Manager for The Parents’ Jury, Dimity Gannon, says “Allowing McDonald’s to be promoted in schools normalizes the consumption of fast food, undermining both parents’ and schools’ efforts to teach children about nutrition and instill healthy eating habits.
“Some schools might fall into the trap of taking up this offer because they see it as an opportunity to fundraise. However, the financial benefit for schools is minimal while McDonald’s benefit greatly by marketing to a captive audience of hundreds of children.”

Jane Martin, Executive Manager of the OPC, says attempts by McDonald’s to promote its unhealthy food to entire schools of children are insidious.

“This deliberate targeting of children in these settings shows that McDonald’s is putting profit ahead of children’s health. This is from a company that claims to be committed to ‘responsible’ advertising to children,” she says.

“The Australian Health Survey 2011-2012 shows that children are eating way too many energy dense, nutrient poor ‘discretionary foods’ that are not necessary in the diet , with very few consuming recommended quantities of fruit and vegetables.

“The Victorian State Government’s Healthy Together Victoria initiative in Mildura is doing a great job of supporting schools to create healthy canteen menus and implement healthy fundraising activities. Making McDonald’s available in schools would undermine this positive work.”

The Parents’ Jury and the Obesity Policy Coalition have each written to McDonald’s urging them to immediately stop the McDonald’s ‘School Support Program’ in Mildura and cease all promotion of McDonald’s branding and products in schools across Australia.

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About The Parents’ Jury

The Parents’ Jury is an online network of parents, grandparents and carers, who are interested in improving the food and physical activity environments of Australian children.

The Parents’ Jury is supported by Cancer Council Australia, Diabetes Australia – Victoria, VicHealth, YMCA Victoria, the Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society and the Bluearth Foundation.

About the Obesity Policy Coalition

The Obesity Policy Coalition is a group of leading public health agencies who are concerned about the escalating levels of overweight and obesity, particularly in children.

The Obesity Policy Coalition is a partnership between Diabetes Australia – Vic, Cancer Council Victoria and the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention at Deakin University, with funding from VicHealth.

Media contact:
The Parents’ Jury Angela Mallon 0404 570 525 amallon@diabetesvic.org.au
Obesity Policy Coalition Shannon Crane 0432 157 270 shannon.crane@cancervic.org.au

Parents blow whistle on junk food sponsorship of sport

28 January 2015

Parents blow whistle on junk food sponsorship of sport

Children’s health advocacy group, The Parents’ Jury, backs the call for Australian Sporting organisations to cut ties with companies that promote junk food to kids through sport.

A report released yesterday by the Obesity Policy Coalition revealed that children watching cricket last summer could have been exposed to 6.5 hours of junk food marketing.

Junk food sponsorship of sport continues to be a major issue for parents. Campaign Manager for The Parents’ Jury, Dimity Gannon said, “It seems senseless that children are being encouraged to adopt a healthier, more active lifestyle, yet when they do play or watch sport, they’re exposed to products and images that contradict this message.

“There is little doubt that promotions for fast food and soft drink influence children’s food choices and often undermine parents’ attempts to provide children with a healthy diet. Food and beverage companies target children through sport because it is effective and hugely profitable. It is no surprise that the report revealed T20 matches, which are a favourite with kids, had the most junk food ads, with over 1000 mentions in one match.” Ms Gannon said.

Health groups including The Obesity Policy Coalition, Cancer Council Victoria, Diabetes Australia – Vic and the WHO Collaborating Centre for Obesity Prevention wrote to Wally Edwards, the Chairman of the Board of Cricket Australia, calling on the organisation to phase out its sponsorship arrangements with unhealthy brands.

The Parents Jury would like to take this a step further and call on all sporting organisations at a national, state and club level to phase out junk food sponsorship in favour of sponsors that promote a healthy lifestyle.

“It would be great to see sporting organisations take it upon themselves to transition to healthier sponsorship arrangements but if they don’t act swiftly, governments needs to step in and restrict this avenue of marketing, as was done effectively with tobacco”, Ms Gannon said.

Contact: Angela Mallon 0404 570 525

Media Releases 2014

Pushing Powerade to sports clubs gets a red card from Australian parents

Sunday 23 November

Pushing Powerade to sports clubs gets a red card from Australian parents

The Parents’ Jury 2014 Fame and Shame Awards Announced

Coca-Cola Amatil’s Powerade Sports Loyalty Program has been shamed in the 10th annual Fame and Shame Awards for marketing to children by incentivising sport clubs to purchase unhealthy drinks in return for sports equipment.

For a set of seven netball bibs valued at around $50, a club would be required to purchase $1,600 worth of drinks. This equates to the consumption of 442 bottles of Powerade, containing a whopping 15kg of sugar.

Health advocacy group, The Parents’ Jury, cautioned junior sports clubs to be aware of the amount of sugar that kids would need to consume in order for their club to redeem equipment through the Powerade Sports Loyalty Program.

Campaigns Manager of The Parents’ Jury, Dimity Gannon, said, “In this, the 10th year of the Fame and Shame Awards, we introduced the ‘Foul Play’ Award to highlight the numerous ways junk food marketing is infiltrating the world of children’s sport. This is a growing concern for parents who see junk food marketing as detracting from the health benefits associated with sport.”

Mum of two, Penny McBride from Sydney, said, “I am very concerned about my children’s exposure to junk food advertising. I don’t want the girls to take home the message that if they do some physical activity they should gulp down a sugary drink. I certainly don’t want their coaches put in the position of pushing these drinks on our kids to get more equipment for their clubs.”

Partner of The Parents’ Jury’s Fame and Shame Awards, Cancer Council NSW believes that the Awards remain more relevant than ever. Clare Hughes, Nutrition Program Manager said, “Companies are adapting and becoming craftier in their promotion of sugar-laden, high-sodium and fatty foods to children.

“As the evidence becomes clearer about the health risks associated with sugary drinks, pushing them through kids’ sport sends the wrong messages to children. We know that these drinks can contain up to 16 teaspoons of sugar in one serving, and regular consumption is contributing to overweight and obesity among children and teens.”

Coca-Cola Amatil received another dressing down from parents in the Digital Ninja category. Its Fanta Flavour Lab app rewards teens for Fanta purchases and encourages them to share content with their friends on social media. Sharing the Award, the McDonald’s Emlings app was slammed for targeting very young children under the guise of an educational game.

“It disturbs me that junk food companies put so much time, energy and resources into creating these digital campaigns designed to target children. I could not believe that a McDonald’s app targeting 4-8 year olds was allowed.” Mrs McBride added.

Nestlé Australia received the Pester Power Award for its Wonka Chocolate Golden Ticket promotion, which exploited the affection that children have for the ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ story. The promotion used the hook of finding one of five elusive golden tickets to win a trip to the ‘Wonka Chocolate Factory’.

Getting parents’ tick of approval, Woolworths received the Parents’ Choice Award for using marketing to promote healthy eating with the Jamie’s Garden Collectibles promotion. Parents approved that the promotion taught children about eating fresh healthy food in a fun and engaging way.

Ms Gannon from The Parents’ Jury said, “Over the past 10 years, we’ve seen the same companies vying for the Shame Awards. McDonald’s and Kellogg’s have been nominated every year, closely followed by Coca-Cola Amatil. This shows that despite parents’ concerns, the industry is still investing big bucks in marketing to children and industry self-regulation isn’t working.

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Media contact: Gina Murphy 0413 889 283 ginam@nswcc.org.au or Angela Mallon 0404 570 525 amallon@diabetesvic.org.au

Notes to Editor

The Parents’ Jury is an online network of parents, grandparents and carers, who are interested in improving the food and physical activity environments of Australian children.

It’s supported by Cancer Council Australia, Diabetes Australia – Vic, VicHealth, YMCA Victoria and the Australian and New Zealand Obesity Society

About the Fame and Shame Awards

The Parents’ Jury Fame and Shame Awards aim to raise awareness of the persuasive and misleading techniques that advertisers use to promote unhealthy foods and drinks to children, and to recognise the advertisements that promote healthy food to children in a fun and appealing way.

The Awards give Australian parents a chance to have their say about the food marketing techniques they believe are targeting their children.

Members of The Parents’ Jury have been nominating examples of the best and worst children’s food marketing campaigns throughout the year.

Members voted on a shortlist in four categories which went forward to a panel of parents, academics and advertisers who decided that the awards should go to:

Pester Power: is awarded to the food marketing campaign that uses techniques which appeal to children, leading to them nagging their parents for unhealthy foods.

Awarded to: Nestlé Australia Wonka Chocolate Golden Ticket Promotion

Parents’ Choice: congratulates a food advertisement that promotes healthy eating to children in a fun and appealing way.

Awarded to: Woolworths: Jamie’s Garden Collectibles Promotion

Digital Ninja: given to the brand which has used digital media in the most obvious way to target children, gaining their attention; driving active participation in the brand and encouraging pester power.

Jointly Awarded to: Coca-Cola Amatil Fanta Flavour Lab App and McDonald’s Emlings App

Foul Play: for the marketing of unhealthy products to children through sponsorship of children’s sport, in what should be a healthy environment.

Awarded to: Coca-Cola Amatil Powerade Sports Loyalty Program

Tighter rules around junk food marketing to children only effective if enforced

23 September 2014

Tighter rules around junk food marketing to children only effective if enforced

Advocacy group, The Parents’ Jury, welcomes global commitments from some of the world’s largest food and beverage companies to cut junk food marketing to children, but remains wary of the flaws of industry self-regulation.

Dimity Gannon, Campaigns Manager for The Parents’ Jury, said: “marketing strongly influences children’s food preferences and fuels pester power for parents to buy unhealthy foods. With 1 in 4 Australian children now classified as overweight or obese, restriction of junk food marketing to children is essential.”

CEOs of 11 international food and beverage companies, including the likes of Coca Cola, McDonald’s, Nestle, PepsiCo, Mars and Kellogg’s, say they will eliminate marketing to children under 12 across all advertising mediums by 2016.

“This could be a win for parents and children ‘if’ commitments to abolish junk food marketing to children are adhered to by the food and beverage industry.

“Too often we have seen junk food marketing to children slip through the cracks of industry self-regulation. Australia has a voluntary code for TV advertising to children, yet time after time junk food advertisements targeting children air during children’s TV programming.

“We would like to believe that industry can follow through with these commitments voluntarily this time, but their track record has not been good. Government regulation of junk food marketing to children would be a more effective and immediate step”, Ms Gannon said.

The World Health Organisation this month called for governments to play a leading role in reducing children’s overall exposure to food marketing by regulating those marketing techniques used by food and beverage companies.

The Parents’ Jury is an online network of parents and people who are interested in improving the food and physical activity environments of Australian children. Formed in 2004, The Parents’ Jury has thousands of members nationally and provides a forum for parents to voice their views and collectively advocate for change.

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Media contact: Dimity Gannon 0408 353 927

Front of pack labelling website a win for parents

27 June 2014

Front of pack labelling website a win for parents

Advocacy group, The Parents’ Jury, welcomes the news that state and federal ministers have supported the healthy food star rating system and voted to re-establish the website that facilitates the new Health Star Rating on packaged food. The system will provide an overall indication of a food’s nutritional quality and will be placed on the front of packaged food.

Alice Pryor, Campaigns Manager for The Parents’ Jury calls for the food industry to implement the system as soon as possible.

“The Health Star Rating system will enable parents to make healthier choices. Its ‘at a glance’ guide gives parents the tools to quickly and clearly assess the nutritional content of packaged foods. Currently, there is too much confusion around the nutritional information presented on packaged food and parents find it difficult to determine which foods are healthiest.

“As almost one in four Australian children is overweight or obese, a system that helps families make better informed choices will clearly be beneficial. The star system is also more easily understood by children and will aid parents in educating their kids to make healthier food choices for themselves.”

The Parents’ Jury is an online network of parents, grandparents and carers, who are interested in improving the food and activity environments of Australian children. Formed in 2004, The Parents’ Jury has thousands of members registered nationally and provides a forum for members to voice their views and collectively advocate for change.

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Media contact: Alice Pryor 0416 219 261

Parents welcome moves by ACT government on sugary drinks in schools

21 February 2014

Parents welcome moves by ACT government on sugary drinks in schools

The Parents’ Jury welcomes today’s decision by the ACT government on the removal of sugary drinks from the territory’s public schools.

School plays a huge influence in a child’s life. When unhealthy foods and drinks are readily available in school canteens, in vending machines, as classroom rewards and at sporting activities, it directly contradicts any ‘healthy eating’ messages delivered by the school curriculum and families.

The Parents’ Jury Campaigns Manager Alice Pryor congratulates the ACT government for recognising the importance of good nutrition in school settings.

“The availability of healthy foods and drinks at school supports parents in creating a more nutritious lifestyle for their children. We support the ACT government in their quest to make the healthy choice the easy choice.

Research conducted in 2012/2013 by The Parents’ Jury, in conjunction with Monash University and VicHealth, showed that only 5 per cent of ACT government schools complied with National Healthy School Canteen Guidelines.

“Our research showed that a well resourced compliance system is key to ensuring that school food guidelines become a reality in our nation’s schools. We urge the ACT government to ensure that this policy is fully implemented.”

The Parents’ Jury is an online network of parents, grandparents and carers, who are interested in improving the food and activity environments of Australian children. We were formed in 2004 and we now have thousands of members registered nationally. We provide a forum for members to voice their views and collectively advocate for change.

Media contact: Alice Pryor 0416 219 261 / Angela Mallon 0404 570 525