None of the 20 television programmes most watched by children will be covered by new rules on junk food advertising, Which? research shows.
The findings are revealed the day before the latest step in the phased introduction of curbs to protect kids from adverts promoting unhealthy foods.
We found that just seven out of the top 50 programmes most popular among under 16s will be covered by the restrictions.
That’s because the restrictions are based on the proportion of children watching the programme rather than the actual number.
For example, Which? research showed that while Avatar: The Legend of Aang, would be covered by the restrictions, Coronation Street, with more than five times the number of viewers under 16, would not.
Similarly, while the restrictions would apply to Bratz, they wouldn’t cover Britain’s Got Talent, which has over four times as many child viewers.
Which? Chief Policy Advisor, Sue Davies, says: ‘The new controls will clearly fail children as none of the programmes with the highest viewing figures for 4 to 15 year olds are covered.
‘This leaves food companies free to broadcast adverts for foods high in fat, salt and sugar at the times when they know the most children will be watching.
‘The only way to ensure that the majority of children are not exposed to adverts for unhealthy foods is by introducing a 9pm watershed.’