London 2012: Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Cadbury given 'unrivalled platform' to promote unhealthy brands at Olympics
Following stints with Reuters and the Press Association, Martin Hickman joined The Independent as a news editor in 2001. He became the Consumer Affairs Correspondent in September 2005 and has run the paper's trenchant campaigns on packaging, bank charges and factory-farmed chicken. He writes on subjects as diverse as food, finance, energy and fashion. With Tom Watson, he is author of a new book on the phone hacking scandal, Dial M for Murdoch - News Corporation and the Corruption of Britain.
Thursday 26 July 2012
Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Cadbury’s are being given an “unrivalled platform” to promote unhealthy brands and products at the Olympics, says a new study.
The firms are “obesity-offsetting” – funding sports equipment and exercise schemes - in return for being allowed to promote calorie-dense foods, according to the report, the Obesity Games.
According to its authors the Children’s Food Campaign, the junk food companies have been given a global platform by London 2012 despite contributing only around 2 per cent of the International Olympic Association’s income.
It added that the policy ill-served taxpayers who are funding the majority of the £1.4bn budget and all the bill for increased costs of obesity on the health service.
Malcolm Clark, campaign co-ordinator, said: “The Olympics have become a celebration of big. For the junk food companies who sponsor the Games that means big restaurants, big audiences, big brand value, big profits. But for children that could also mean bigger waistlines and bigger health problems later in life.
“Yet the one thing about the Olympics which is not big is the proportion of revenue from sponsorship.
“The International Olympic Committee could choose to cut out the top-tier category of food and soft drink partners entirely, and lose little more than 2 per cent its total income.”
The campaigners called for a ban on junk food brands from sponsoring future sporting events.
Ian Barber, director of communications for the Advertising Association, which represents marketers, dismissed the report.
He said: “Much analysis has been done about advertising’s link with our obesity problem.
“Professor David Buckingham – an independent expert - sums it up when he says, ‘the impact, if any, is small’. “
He added: “The Children’s Food Campaign should ditch the rhetoric, listen to the experts and start tackling the real causes of obesity.”
Hull v Arsenal: Arsene Wenger admits 'I am not in the best position' as contract uncertainty continues
Dylan Tombides: West Ham confirm 20-year-old striker has died after battle with cancer
Secret to Liverpool’s title charge is Brendan Rodgers’ ability to keep changing formation – and Raheem Sterling’s gift of adapting to his manager’s wishes
Steven Gerrard profile: the Lion of Liverpool who embodies fight for Hillsborough justice and is poised to lead his club to a remarkable triumph
Spurs ‘agree deal’ with former Milan manager Massimiliano Allegri
- 1 Pet cat puts three family members in hospital after launching frenzied attack
- 2 Dylan Tombides: West Ham confirm 20-year-old striker has died after battle with cancer
- 3 24 people applied for the 'world's toughest job', here are their interviews
- 4 Angus Steakhouse: How does tourist staple continue to thrive in today's gourmet market?
- 5 Cover up! Mother told to show less cleavage during Disneyland family trip: 'Are we supposed to wear turtlenecks our whole lives?'
The food poverty scandal that shames Britain: Nearly 1m people rely on handouts to eat – and benefit reforms may be to blame
US Navy christens huge $3 billion destroyer ship USS Zumwalt that appears as a fishing boat on enemy radar
Scottish independence: It is the English who should be on their knees, begging the Scots to vote ‘No’
Nigel Farage fatigue? Half of voters ‘immune’ to Ukip’s appeal
Nigel Farage: I’m taking on the status quo, and the Establishment’s fighting back
'Sinful': Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy comes under attack