The Board of Food Marketing in Finland, which will evaluate the marketing of foodstuff, started operations at the beginning of 2023.
The Board is independent and impartial and it operates in connection with the Finland Chamber of Commerce. It will evaluate the appropriateness of marketing on a case-by-case basis, based on requests for statements.
The Finnish Food and Drink Industries’ Federation, which initiated the Board together with the Finland Chamber of Commerce, wants to promote self-regulation and responsible practices in the marketing carried out by food companies.
“There are growing expectations regarding the responsible marketing of food. Marketing channels are also constantly evolving. By promoting self-regulation in the industry, we will increase companies’ knowledge of responsible marketing and receive solutions to controversial issues from an independent board,” says Marleena Tanhuanpää, Director of the Finnish Food and Drink Industries’ Federation.
“Self-regulation benefits both companies and consumers,” she explains.
Marketing is an important way for companies to tell consumers about their products and their features. It is also a key element in freedom of trade. Marketing promotes competition between companies and creates the conditions to provide consumers with a wide selection of products, information to make informed choices and lower prices.
Self-regulation has many advantages and is already in use in many EU countries
Self-regulation is a good way to develop the responsibility and practices of marketing, while taking into account the needs of trade and industry and the changing operating environment.
“The establishment of a self-regulatory body is a strong indication that the food and drink industry is committed to taking responsibility for the appropriateness of marketing in the industry,” says Paula Paloranta, Secretary of the Board, from the Finland Chamber of Commerce.
Self-regulation will enable us to react rapidly to changes. Industry knowledge is also an advantage.
“The Finland Chamber of Commerce has expertise in this type of self-regulation. The advantage of self-regulation is that it can take changes in the operating environment into account much faster than legislation. The Board’s statements will take a stand on actual cases, which all companies will be able to learn from,” says Paloranta.
A request for a statement on the marketing of a food product may be made by a private person, an entrepreneur or any other entity or authority. The Board will consider the request if the marketing of the food product is aimed at a Finnish target audience.
In its evaluations, the Board will consider whether the marketing complies with the International Chamber of Commerce’s Advertising and Marketing Communications Code and Framework for Responsible Food and Beverage Marketing Communications and the Finnish Food and Drink Industries’ Federation’s guidelines on the marketing of foodstuff.
Companies can also ask the Board for a preliminary statement on the marketing of their intended food product.
Self-regulation of food marketing is already in use in several EU countries. The statements and preliminary statements issued by the Board of Food Marketing in Finland, which has now started operating in Finland, are recommendations, in the same way as the statements of the Council of Ethics in Advertising. The statements are public, whereas preliminary statements are confidential.