Turkey bans junk food and sweet advertisements that target children

From June 2019, food manufacturers will no longer be able to use advertisements and promotions for junk food and confectionary to target children in Turkey. The Trade Ministry made the announcement in Turkey’s Official Gazette yesterday, Friday 28 December.

Part of its agenda to promote healthier living, the new legislation spearheaded by the Turkish Health Ministry specifically concerns products that create unhealthy eating habits, such as burgers, chips, sweets, biscuits, energy bars, chocolates, crisps and sugary fruit drinks. When the ban comes into force in six months’ time, affected food brands will be prevented from running commercials on either television or radio during shows which are aimed at children.

The regulation also prevents toys being offered as part of an incentive in food offers aimed at children. These promotional tools are regularly used by companies such as burger chain McDonald’s whose smaller Happy Meals are intended for children.

Other brands set to be affected by the promo ban are Kinder Surprise, whose egg-shaped chocolate includes a toy inside. Unless owners, Italian confectionery giant Ferrero, removes the toy from its Kinder Surprise eggs, from June 2019 the items will no longer be found on shelves in Turkey.

Kinder Surprise Egg with plastic pod containing toy gift. Photo © Facebook/ Kinder Surprise Egg


The Trade Ministry also spelt out how the new regulation will be enforced, with fines ranging from 8,546 Turkish liras (£1,285) to 341,921 TL (£51,060) depending on where the violation took place. Repeat offenders will face significantly bigger fines, with Turkey’s Board of Advertisement able to issues fines up to 10 times the value of the initial penalty.

When questioned about the new regulation during a trip to Gazinatep on Friday, the Trade Minister  Ruhsar Pekcan said the ban targeted “abur cubur”(snacks).

The Minister added, “One of the Ministry’s most important duties was towards consumers, specifically vulnerable consumers such as children, by protecting their physical and commercial wellbeing. It is in line with this that we have made these changes.”


Main photo: McDonald’s Happy Meal © iStock/UrbanBuzz