TFL bans advert showing bacon, butter and jam under new anti-junk food guidelines

'Our ad was a mixture of balanced, whole foods'

Olivia Petter
Tuesday 05 March 2019 11:21 GMT

Transport for London (TFL) has rejected an advert designed to run on the London Underground because it contained bacon, butter and jam.

Online supermarket Farmdrop says it submitted posters to TFL depicting free-range butter and eggs from local farmers being used by a family. The tagline read: “Fresher, fairer groceries delivered to your door”.

However, TFL stated that the ad went against its new anti-junk food advertising policies, which were introduced last month.

Following the guidance of the government body's advertising agent, Exterion Media, Farmdrop has been permitted to run an amended cropped version of its original ad that doesn’t show the aforementioned products.

A spokesperson for TFL clarified that its new policy, as enforced by London Mayor Sadiq Khan, requires brands to demonstrate that any products featured in ads designed to run on its network “are not high in fat, sugar and salt” unless they have been granted an exception.

They added that the guidelines were enforced to combat the growing rates of child obesity in the city.

“Child obesity in London is a serious issue,” they said, “almost 40 per cent of children aged 10 and 11 are overweight or obese, one of the highest rates in Europe. This ban is designed to reduce children’s exposure to adverts for food and drink which could contribute to this problem.”

Farmdrop's said it decided to crop its original ad rather than redesign it due to time constraints. (Farmdrop)

Brands whose ads don’t meet TFL’s requirements can apply for an exception if they illustrate that the product they’re advertising doesn’t contribute to rising rates of child obesity.

But Farmdrop rejected this option, instead deciding to amend its original ad by cropping out the items featured in the poster so they could run on the London Underground.

Ben Pugh, founder and CEO of Farmdrop said it supported TFL’s ban on advertising junk foods but that it had been handled “unjustly” in this case.

“Our ad was a mixture of balanced, whole foods, while McDonald’s happy meals are high fat, sugar and salt [HFSS]-compliant under these rules. It’s crazy.”

TFL stressed that it had not stated eggs, which were shown in Farmdrop’s original ad, do not comply with its policy.

The organisation's ban on junk food advertising was imposed on 25 February and states that food and drink brands "will only be able to place adverts which promote their healthier products, rather than simply publicising their brands".

You can read more about the ban here.

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in