February 12, 2020 / 10:41 AM / 16 days ago

Magnum maker Unilever puts end to ads targeting kids under 12

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Unilever is seen at the headquarters in Rotterdam, Netherlands August 21, 2018. REUTERS/Piroschka van de Wouw

(Reuters) - Wall’s and Magnum ice cream maker Unilever (ULVR.L) UNc.AS will stop advertising its food and beverages to children under the age of 12 on traditional and social media, it said on Wednesday, responding to growing concerns over childhood obesity.

The company said in its new principles on responsible marketing that it would also stop hiring influencers and celebrities who primarily appeal to children under the age of 12 and would also curb its use of cartoon characters.

The company’s ice-cream business will be the first to implement these changes, which follow moves by the company over the last five years to cap the total calories and sugar levels in kids’ ice-creams at 110 calories and 12 grams per portion.

Wall’s, whose Max, Paddle Pop and Twister ice-creams are all chiefly aimed at kids, will still be featured on in-store displays and freezers which are familiar to thousands of convenience stores globally.

In 2016, 124 million children and adolescents between the ages of 5 and 19 were estimated to suffer from obesity worldwide, while 213 million were overweight, according to the World Health Organization's latest figures. (bit.ly/2w2Wmz1)

Reporting by Siddharth Cavale in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham

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