Children's Food & Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI)
CFBAI Core Principles
Under CFBAI’s Core Principles, participating companies agree to advertise only foods or beverages that meet CFBAI’s Uniform Nutrition Criteria or to not advertise foods at all in child-directed advertising. CFBAI and its participants, 19 of the leading U.S. food and beverage and quick serve companies, strengthened their voluntary commitments for responsible food marketing to children with the adoption of the 2021 Core Principles in May 2020. The Core Principles now more strictly define what constitutes a child-directed audience and extend digital media coverage to include YouTube and influencer communications. Participants have agreed to implement these improvements by January 1, 2021.
For measured media like television, CFBAI defines “child-directed” by looking at the percentage of children under age 12 in the audience. Under the newly revised Core Principles, participants will treat programming with an audience of 30% or more children as child-directed, an even more rigorous standard than the previous 35% threshold.
The Core Principles now also will specifically cover advertising on open-access platforms with child-directed content or channels, such as YouTube, and require that child-directed influencer communications promote only foods that meet CFBAI’s Nutrition Criteria. Although CFBAI’s Core Principles always have applied to online advertising, this enhancement reflects ongoing changes in children’s media environment and provides greater transparency regarding the application of participants’ commitments.
The 2021 Core Principles also incorporate CFBAI’s Category-Specific Uniform Nutrition Criteria, 2nd edition, which updated the program’s nutrition criteria in September 2018, and which were implemented in January 2020.
The Advertising Commitment
Participants agree to depict only foods that meet CFBAI’s Uniform Nutrition Criteria in advertising primarily directed to children under age 12.
CFBAI’s Core Principles cover child-directed advertising in the following media:
- Internet/digital media, including company websites, third-party websites, open- access platforms with child-directed content like YouTube
- Influencer communications
- Product Integrations
- Product Placements
- Mobile apps
- Video and computer games
- G-rated DVDs
- Word of Mouth
- Licensed characters, celebrities, and movie tie-ins in child-directed ads
CFBAI’s Core Principles also include a commitment to not advertise branded foods or beverages to children in elementary schools, even foods that meet CFBAI’s nutrition criteria. This commitment does not apply to the display of foods or beverages that are for sale, communications with adults, charitable fundraising support or sponsorship, or curricular or public service materials.
Elementary School Commitment
Participants commit to not advertise their foods to children in elementary schools, even foods that meet CFBAI’s nutrition criteria. This commitment applies to the entire school and its facilities and grounds and covers the entire school day whenever children are under the supervision of the school or third parties on behalf of the school.
This commitment does not apply to the display of foods or beverages that are for sale, communications with adults, including administrators, school employees, or parents, charitable fundraising support, or curricular or public service materials.
CFBAI has published a Fact Sheet to provide additional guidance regarding this commitment.