The executive committee of Magazines Ireland has been involved in reviewing and developing the Code of Practice for High Fat, Salt, Sugar (HFSS) Foods over the last 18 months. The purpose of the Codes is to ensure that foods high in fat, salt and sugar (HFSS) are marketed in a responsible way. The Codes seek to ensure that children are not exposed to inappropriate marketing, advertising or sponsorship associated with these kinds of food and drink products, and that healthier food choices are actively promoted. The Code was launched on February 14, 2018 by Minister of State for Health Promotion, Catherine Byrne TD.
The full Code of Practice for all non-broadcast media is at
The main sections relating to magazine media (Digital and Print) and Sponsorship as follows:
Additional Rules for Non-Broadcast Digital Media
1. Where appropriate age-filters exist on websites and social media apps, marketing communications for HFSS foods are not permitted to target children under the age of 15.
2. Marketing Communications for HFSS food by means of e-mail and Short Message Service (SMS) shall not target children under the age of 15.
3. Marketing Communications for HFSS food by means of social media shall not target children under the age of 15
4. Where Marketing Communications for HFSS food is permissible, it shall not exceed a maximum of 25% of total advertising space
5. The websites of food businesses should not carry content that is designed to engage children under the age of 15 with HFSS food brands e.g. children’s area, videos, ‘webisodes’, branded education and interactive features
Additional Rules for Print Media
1. Marketing Communications for HFSS foods will only be carried in consumer publications where the adult readership is 75% or greater. A consumer publication or issue is taken to mean the complete edition published that day to include any supplements or advertising inserts.
2. Where Marketing Communications for HFSS food is permissible, it shall not, in ordinary circumstances, exceed a maximum of 25% of total advertising space.
3. HFSS food sponsorship of sports pages or sports supplements is not allowed.
Code of Practice for Sponsorship linked to HFSS Food
Sponsorship confers rights to the sponsor of promoting the brand and products of the sponsor. This type of promotion increases people’s awareness and creates greater brand recognition. In view of the practical issues above, the following specific rules relating to sponsorship apply in addition to any relevant general rules for all codes (see section 6). These restrictions will apply to sponsorship involving all HFSS food as determined by the code. The restrictions will not extend to corporate identities, trading names, or master brands.
1. The Voluntary Code of Practice for Food applies to all forms of commercial sponsorship of activities or events of any kind.
2. No sponsorship involving HFSS food will be permitted for any other setting dedicated to use by children of primary school age.
3. No sponsorship involving HFSS food will be permitted of events of particular appeal to children of primary school age.
4. Existing sponsorship contracts and agreements which otherwise would be in breach of the code will be permitted to continue until they expire.
5. Companies are encouraged to make their public internal sponsorship codes available to the body responsible for the governance of the Code.
6. It is noted these are considered to be basic requirements and companies are encouraged to move to non-HFSS sponsorship arrangements wherever possible.