Statement by Dr Geoffrey Annison, Deputy CEO AFGC

While Deakin’s Global Obesity Centre’s report has made a first attempt to provide an understanding of individual companies’ policies and commitments related to nutrition, the AFGC maintains some concerns with its methodology and scaling.”

“The researchers have applied an apples-oranges’ comparison to assess quick service restaurants (QSR) without accounting for the product offerings they make to the market.”

“Further we would encourage researchers to apply assessment criteria which is consistent with World Health Organisation (WHO) which has recently assessed Australia as having fully achieved its commitments to marketing restrictions to children.”

“The majority of QSRs provide valuable nutritional information via kilojoule menu board labelling, and educating consumers on how to use this information is important.”

“The majority of QSRs are franchised small businesses which contribute to local sporting clubs or organisations, allowing them to keep down the cost of participatory sports. Advertising restrictions ensure that these companies promote healthy food choices through this sponsorship.”

“This research does not consider if such bans were introduced without alternative sources of income, it would inevitably have a detrimental impact on participation rates, particularly amongst children in areas of high social disadvantage.”

“The food and beverages industry acknowledges that obesity is a serious and complex public health problem in Australia.”

“We believe it is appropriate for calls to be made for Australians to modify and improve their dietary intake.”

The food and beverage industry will continue to:

  • Promote and support healthy balanced lifestyles that involve responsible eating habits and regular exercise;
  • Develop and provide clear and meaningful fact-based nutrition information and labelling, providing the information people need at point of purchase to make appropriate decisions for the occasion;
  • Increase the availability of products with fewer kilojoules, including more reduced, low and no-kilojoule product offerings, as well as more packaging options and smaller portion sizes;
  • Continue to work with successive governments in committing to significant investments to cooperatively tackle obesity, encourage healthy eating and empower food manufacturers to make positive changes to their product portfolios.
  • Ensure certain products are not marketed to children and comply with self-regulatory codes which have virtually removed non-core foods from children’s programming.
  • Support physical activity and nutrition programmes, contributing to the research and evidence base and developing partnerships that advances nutrition science.

AFGC Media Contact: James Mathews 0407 416 002