WASHINGTON, June 6, 2012 – The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) announced its plan to introduce new standards for food advertising on programming targeting kids and families.
First Lady Michelle Obama gave remarks lauding Disney’s efforts at a press conference in Washington, DC yesterday. She said “Disney is doing what no major media company has ever done before in the U.S. - and what I hope every company will do going forward.”
"This is a major American company - a global brand - that is literally changing the way it does business so that our kids can lead healthier lives,” she said.
Under Disney’s new standards, all food and beverage products advertised, sponsored, or promoted on Disney Channel, Disney XD, Disney Junior, Radio Disney, and Disney-owned online destinations oriented to families with younger children will be required by 2015 to meet Disney’s nutrition guidelines, which the company established in 2006. The nutrition guidelines are aligned to federal standards, promote fruit and vegetable consumption and call for limiting calories and reducing saturated fat, sodium, and sugar.
“We’ve taken steps across our company to support better choices for families, and now we’re taking the next important step forward by setting new food advertising standards for kids,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company. “The emotional connection kids have to our characters and stories gives us a unique opportunity to continue to inspire and encourage them to lead healthier lives.”
In addition to its new advertising standards, Disney introduced the “Mickey Check” tool, an icon that calls out nutritious food and menu items sold in stores, online, and at restaurants and food venues at its U.S. Parks and Resorts. By the end of 2012 the “Mickey Check” will appear on products at Disney’s Parks and Resorts.
“Our kids see an estimated $1.6 billion a year worth of food and beverage marketing, and many of those ads are for foods that are high in calories and sugar but low in nutrition,” said the First Lady. “So our kids are constantly bombarded with sophisticated messages designed to sell them foods that simply aren't good for them.”
“I hope that businesses all across this country will understand this as well, and, even more importantly, I hope that parents will take notice when companies like Disney do the right thing for our kids,” she added.
Disney also noted it will further reduce sodium in kids’ meals and introduce well-balanced kids’ breakfast meals as well as further reduce sugar and sodium in all Disney-licensed foods.
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