Food giant to stop advertising ice cream to children

Food giant Unilever has vowed to stop marketing its products to children in order to tackle rising obesity rates.

The firm, which owns brands such as Twister ice cream and Popsicle ice lollies, said it would limit the use of cartoon characters in its advertising.

It also promised to stop using social media stars or celebrities “who primarily appeal” to children under 12.

Ads for Unilever ice creams have been pulled in the past over complaints they marketed unhealthy food to children.

The new rules will apply to all of the firm’s products by the end of 2020, kicking off with its Wall’s ice cream brands.

Wall’s will also launch a range of “responsibly made” products for children that contain “no more than 110 calories and a maximum of 12g of sugar per portion”.

Wall’s brands popular with children include Max, Paddle Pop and Twister.

“Our promise is a genuine commitment to make and market products to children responsibly,” said Matt Close, executive vice president of the firm’s global ice cream business.

In 2016, 18% of children and adolescents – more than 340 million people aged 5 to 19 – were overweight globally – up from 4% in 1975, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).

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