At PepsiCo, we believe children are a special audience, and we take particular care to responsibly communicate about our products with them and their caregivers. We do this by responsibly advertising to children, and by restricting direct sales of certain beverages to schools (see PepsiCo Global Policy on the Sale of Beverages to Schools and PepsiCo Beverages U.S. School Policy). To support our efforts in this area, we have global and regional policies:
Our policy provides that on a global basis, we will advertise to children under age 12 only those products that meet PepsiCo’s Global Nutrition Criteria for Advertising to Children, to encourage the consumption of healthier food and beverage products. These criteria are grounded in well-established and broadly recognized scientific principles in accordance with international and national nutrition authorities and reflect dietary recommendations of these authorities (e.g. World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). We also adhere to all relevant laws and regulations within the countries in which we operate. PepsiCo has also adopted the International Council of Beverages Associations Guidelines on Marketing to Children, which restricts beverage categories that may be marketed to children.
Our Responsible Advertising to Children Policy prohibits advertising of products that do not meet certain nutritional requirements in programs whose audience profile is made up of greater than 35 percent children who are under the age of 12.
We have strengthened our policy several times over the years. In addition to certain marketing restrictions within school environments, it now covers any marketing communications that use licensed characters (excluding company-owned, brand equity characters), celebrities and movie tie-ins primarily directed to children under 12. Media covered under the policy include TV, radio, print, cinema, online, DVD/CD-ROM, direct marketing, product placement, interactive games, outdoor marketing, mobile and short message service marketing.
As social media continues to evolve, we are striving to update the ways in which we market our products while maintaining our responsible marketing practices. We face new challenges in applying our policy to emerging application technology and the availability of audience data. And we are engaging with partners and external organizations, such as advertising agencies, media vendors and organizations like the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), to understand the continuously evolving marketing landscape and adapt accordingly.
We have also signed on to industry-led voluntary initiatives through several global, regional and national Pledge Programs. These programs are all based on the principle that signatories advertise only products that meet specific nutrition criteria to children under the age of 12. In the event there are conflicts between PepsiCo’s Advertising to Children Criteria, and any Pledge Program nutrition criteria and/or any applicable laws, PepsiCo will apply the strictest criteria for each nutrition category.
Many of our Pledge Programs have measured compliance with our Responsible Advertising to Children Policy. For example, in 2015 we were compliant with our U.S. and Canada Advertising to Children Pledges, as verified by the Children’s Food & Beverage Advertising Initiative in the U.S. and by Advertising Standards in Canada (and we expect to continue to be compliant for 2016), and during the first quarter of 2016, we achieved 99 percent compliance with our EU Pledge in eight European countries, as verified by Accenture Media Management.
Outside of the U.S., PepsiCo’s global policy for beverage sales in schools focuses on water, juice, milk and low-calorie beverages that support healthy nutrition habits for students. PepsiCo-owned bottling operations offer healthy hydration options for students and work with schools to eliminate full-calorie soft drinks in primary and secondary schools. We work with our independent franchise bottlers, third-party vending companies and other PepsiCo beverage distributors, as well as schools and local authorities, to apply this policy beyond PepsiCo's direct operations. It should be noted that because our policies alone cannot determine the actions of businesses outside our operational control, our products sometimes may be sold in schools by independent third parties. However, we view our policy as an opportunity to engage our industry peers and local authorities in adopting similar policies. It will ultimately take a collaborative, industry-wide effort to ensure consistently healthier options in schools.
Through our bottling partners and third-party distributors in the U.S., PepsiCo Beverages North America offers schools a portfolio of low-calorie and nutritious beverage choices. This wide variety of products includes bottled waters, juices, sports drinks and no- or low-calorie carbonated soft drinks, juice-flavored drinks and iced teas. Schools decide which beverages to make available, and where and when they are sold.
PepsiCo Food Service helps K-12 schools offer nutritious food choices to their students. Although we do not decide which foods are available on school campuses — schools do — and we do not sell foods directly to schools — food distributors, vending companies and other independent businesses do — we believe this policy helps us play an important role in helping students have access to nutritious food choices while at school.