Responsible advertising and marketing

As a nutrition, health and wellness company, we have a responsibility to promote our products in ways that encourage balanced consumption, especially by children. We want to ensure that all Nestlé products are always advertised responsibly, which we do by adhering to detailed policies and principles, and voluntarily signing up to industry pledges covering more than 50 countries.

At a glance

What we’re doing

  • Over the last 15 years we have strengthened our commitment to responsible advertising and marketing by publishing detailed policies and principles to be followed across Nestlé.

    In 1999, we issued our first set of Corporate Business Principles, which included a principle relating specifically to appropriate communication with consumers. It states: “We are committed to responsible, reliable consumer communication that empowers consumers to exercise their right to informed choice and promotes healthier diets.”

    In 2002, we released a comprehensive and detailed set of Consumer Communication Principles. These principles stipulate that our advertisements must:

    • Be truthful and credible;
    • Encourage moderation;
    • Not generate unrealistic expectations of popularity or success; and
    • Not undermine parental authority.

    In 2008, with growing awareness of the effects of advertising on children, we introduced our Marketing Communication to Children Policy. The policy, updated in September 2011, states that we do not directly advertise or market our products towards children under six years of age. Advertising to children aged six to 12 is restricted to products with a nutritional profile that helps them achieve a healthy, balanced diet, including limits for sugar, salt and fat.

    To reflect an ever-changing world, we issued an updated Policy on Marketing Communication to Children (pdf, 2 Mb) in January 2015 (effective December 2015).

    What's new in our Policy on Marketing Communication to Children (pdf, 2 Mb)?

    • The EU Pledge Nutrition Criteria will serve as a global reference for deciding what products can or cannot be communicated to children below 12. Irrespective of these nutrition criteria being met, we will not market biscuits, sugar or chocolate confectionery products to children below 12 years of age.
    • In addition to quantitative measurements, qualitative criteria will help determine whether marketing communications are directed at children; specifically the use of characters, celebrity endorsement, and overall creative execution.
    • Products sold to primary schools under Nestlé’s direct control and supervision must meet the same nutrition criteria.
    • The Policy will cover a broader scope of channels including television, radio, print, cinema, outdoor, digital media, mobile, games, consumer relationship marketing, viral marketing, apps, email / SMS, Nestlé-owned websites, movie tie-ins, promotions, premiums, contests, product sponsorships and sampling.


  • Principles and policies mean nothing unless they are effectively implemented. We have processes in place to ensure global compliance with our Consumer Communication Principles and Marketing Communication to Children Policy. They include:


    • Guidelines that explain:
      – The restrictions on advertising products that do not fulfil Nestlé’s Nutritional
      Foundation criteria
      – How to brief our advertising and media agencies
    • A marketing monitoring system that reports annually on all television, print, digital and school event marketing to our internal audit group, which flags any noncompliance situations directly to the Executive Board.


    • The International Food & Beverage Alliance (IFBA) pledge is monitored by Accenture and covers TV, print and online advertising, and company-owned websites aimed at children under 12 years;
    • Monitoring of the EU Pledge by Accenture (TV, print, online), the independent research consultancy BDRC (schools), and the European Advertising Standards Alliance (company-owned websites); and
    • National Pledge signatories are required to monitor and report on commitments in a transparent and accountable manner. Ideally independent compliance monitoring of the local pledge should be commissioned and results reported.
  • Our policies are guided by a series of global, regional and national commitments and pledges that aim to establish industry consensus on minimum standards for marketing to children.

    International Food and Beverage Alliance (IFBA) commitment

    As a member of the IFBA, Nestlé is committed to comply with their Global Policy on Advertising and Marketing Communications to Children. Each year, IFBA engages a third party to monitor and report publicly on members’ compliance with the Global Policy.

    In 2014, the report was based on a review of 58,4547 television adverts, reviewed over a three-month period across seven countries – China, Colombia, India, Malaysia, UAE, South Africa, Turkey. 57 print publications and 103 websites were reviewed across five countries – Brazil, China, India, Singapore and South Africa. Nestlé’s overall IFBA Pledge compliance rate in 2014 was 97.2% for television, 100% for print and 99.03% online.

    National and regional pledges

    National and regional pledges, based on the IFBA Global Policy, have been launched around the world to encourage food companies that are not IFBA members to improve the types of products advertised to children and promote balanced diets and healthy, active lifestyles. It will also enable the monitoring of both compliance and impact at a local level. To date, we have signed voluntary pledges on the marketing of foods to children covering more than 50 countries.

    A key component of some of these pledges, like the EU Pledge or the US’ Children Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, is ‘common nutritional criteria’, which set limits on calories and public health sensitive nutrients such as salt, saturated fat and sugar within specific countries or regions. They also establish minimum nutritional requirements for individual categories, such as the percentage of protein and calcium in dairy products.

Next steps

We will continue to review and update our principles to ensure that all our products are advertised in a legal and honest way.

Related content

Find out more in our Creating Shared Value full report


Where at least 35% of the TV, radio or print audience is under 12 years of age.