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Disney's Junk-Food Ban May Force Industry Changes

13 June 2012 in Trading Ideas

Disney’s (DIS) recent decision to ban junk-food advertising on its children’s programming has been seen by many as the first wave in a possible future role by media conglomerates to fight obesity in American kids.

Disney said last week that it will become the first major media company to ban these types of ads for its radio stations, TV channels and websites intended for children.

Kids who watch shows on the company’s ABC network will no longer see ads for fast foods and sugary cereals that fall below nutrition standards adopted by the media network. However, the guidelines won’t go into effect until 2015.

But this move by the entertainment company could have a far-reaching effect on the food industry.

And Disney went even further, according to the AP, introducing the “Mickey Check” seal of approval for nutritious foods sold in stores and online at its parks and resorts.

“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,” Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger said in a statement.

The move by the company echoes a national push, led by many, including First Lady Michelle Obama, to promote fruits, vegetables and other healthy options over other, less nutritious options.

Bloomberg News said the move may lead other companies to follow suit, as public opinion may begin to favor this approach. A move away from the “sophisticated messages” put out by the alleged junk food firms was applauded by Obama.

“They’ve realized that what is good for our children can also be good business,” said Obama, she said, adding that she hopes other companies take notice.

Will other companies within the food industry follow suit or resist change?