Food and drinks high in sugar and fat should be sold in plain packaging to limit their appeal and harm to Britain’s public health, a new report urges.

The survey—commissioned by three health groups—recommends increasing physical education funding in schools, raising the minimum smoking age to 21 years old, and banning TV, radio, and public advertising of unhealthy food products before 9pm.

They found that over half of snacks with popular cartoon characters on the packaging miss the nutritional requirements to advertise during children’s TV shows.

They claim it should be illegal to “manipulate” children into craving these products using brightly decorated marketing and familiar, friendly characters—like Peppa Pig—and argue plain packaging significantly reduces tobacco’s appeal among minors.

The food industry is not meeting government-ordained health targets.

One Paw Patrol chocolate bar fulfils almost two-fifths of a five-year-old’s recommended sugar intake; Dr Moo’s Quick Milk Magic Sipper Strawberry—marketed as the “perfect way” to up your child’s calcium consumption—is more than nine-tenths sugar.

Manufacturers argue plain-packaging policies violate fair competition laws and prejudice brand identity. They warn filling product aisles with identical, white-wrapped products will fast turn shopping into a bland, uninspiring activity.

Should highly fatty and sugary foods be plainly packaged?

   

Credit for this article's header image goes to Getty.