Protocols to monitor marketing of unhealthy foods to children: Comparison and evaluation of existing protocols, with stakeholder consultation

Muc, Magdalena and Tatlow-Golden, Mimi (2023). Protocols to monitor marketing of unhealthy foods to children: Comparison and evaluation of existing protocols, with stakeholder consultation. Best-ReMaP EU JA.



Work Package 6.4 of the EU Best-ReMap Joint Action (2020-23) is tasked with reviewing best practices in monitoring the marketing of unhealthy foods and non-alcoholic drinks and will develop, test, and adapt an EU-wide Monitoring Protocol to support Member States’ monitoring of unhealthy food marketing to children, with a particular focus on digital marketing.
This document was created to fulfil Task 6.4.1 of Work Package 6 of Best-ReMaP. The aim of 6.4.1 is to identify, describe and compare the existing global protocols to monitor marketing of unhealthy food and non-alcoholic drinks to children, identifying the best practices in monitoring that could feed into the design of an EU-wide harmonised and comprehensive monitoring protocol for reducing unhealthy food marketing to children (JA Task 6.4.3; Deliverable D6.3).
This review consulted with WP6.4 partners (Member States and technical experts) to understand their needs regarding the design of an EU-wide monitoring protocol. A knowledge and experience sharing workshop entitled “Monitoring food advertising: Progress, experiences, challenges, solutions” (JA Task 6.4.4, Milestone M6.5) took place on 9th of May 2022, in which countries shared their experiences in using marketing monitoring protocols and articulated their needs and expectations of the EU-wide monitoring protocol.
Prior to holding this workshop, four global monitoring protocols were identified and reviewed: from the INFORMAS consortium, the Nordic Council of Ministers, and the World Health Organization (WHO) (Protocols and Templates, and the WHO CLICK framework). The design, content and scope of these four protocols are described and compared in this report, summarising the existing tools available to measure marketing in different channels, with a special focus on the digital marketing. Recommendations for the design of the EU-wide monitoring protocol are made and these will feed into further work on this Task.
The result of this review is a set of recommendations on the design and content of key elements of the monitoring protocol. These are presented below with the key recommendations being:
1. Devise an EU-wide marketing monitoring framework that links to existing protocols hosted by WHO-Euro;
2. Assess routes to providing protocols for event-based sponsorship marketing and outdoor marketing;
3. Provide further contextual information and guidance for MS, particularly relating to digital marketing;
4. Provide further supporting materials for MS new to food marketing monitoring as a practice especially for the preparatory stages and to support resource planning;
5. Provide support materials for MS on working with and involving children and taking a child rights stance;
6. Identify the optimal site for hosting the EU-wide protocols to facilitate visibility, access and knowledge-sharing; and
7. Explore opportunities for knowledge sharing between MS on monitoring marketing.

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