New rules to reduce unhealthy food ads in Bristol: AdobeStock 229316422 Pea face

11 Mar 2021

New rules to reduce unhealthy food ads in Bristol

Policy believed to be most complete of its kind in England

A comprehensive policy restricting the advertisement of foods that are high in fat, salt and/or sugar (HFSS) and bans alcohol advertising has been passed by Bristol City Council’s Cabinet.

The new Advertising and Sponsorship policy is believed to be the most complete of its kind in the country. It allows companies to substitute unhealthy products with healthier ones, avoiding any outright bans on specific brands.

Under the policy, ads that contain implicit or explicit promotion of HFSS foods, as defined by the Department of Health and Social Care’s nutrient profiling model, or alcohol, will no longer be allowed on Bristol City Council-owned advertising sites such as bus shelters.

The approach forms part of the council’s commitment to consider ‘Health in all Policies’, with the new policy also restricting advertising of other common public health harms, including gambling and payday loans.

Councillor Asher Craig, Deputy Mayor with responsibility for Communities, Equalities and Public Health said:
“We take the health of our residents seriously and have been working with our local public health experts for some time to find ways to support the health of our citizens. One of the ways we intend to do this is to restrict the most harmful types of advertising from city centre banners, digital screens and bus stop adverts.

“Through the Bristol Eating Better and Going for Gold initiatives we have been working with food businesses that sell healthier food options, helping Bristol become a healthier and more sustainable food city and this new policy will support those activities.

“By putting people’s health first, we have made Bristol’s policy one of the strongest in the country, leading by example and showing willingness to take a potential hit on our income in order to support people’s health and wellbeing.”

Fran Bernhardt, Children’s Food Campaign Coordinator for Sustain, and also adviser to the Mayor of London’s team on the Transport for London policy said:
“We’re delighted to see Bristol join the movement of councils prioritising their communities’ health ahead of corporate interests.

“Junk food advertising puts unhealthy and unsustainable products in the spotlight which is bad news for us. Bristol’s new healthier food advertising policy sets the stage for healthier food, helping Bristolians to lead more healthy lives.”

Conditions will be put in place immediately in the new Advertising and Sponsorship policy and will apply to all future advertising contracts and sponsorship arrangements.

The policy and HFSS advertising guidance note can be found online: