Cem Özdemir (Greens) received a lot of criticism, including from the food industry, for his attempt to severely restrict advertising for unhealthy food to protect children. But now the Minister of Food is getting support from the discounter Lidl, who has announced that they want to actively support the project.
Lidl Germany boss Christian Härtnagel relies on the discount chain's own commitment. Lidl therefore wants to largely do without advertising aimed at children. "We hope that this will provide further impetus in our industry," he told WELT AM SONNTAG.
Lidl doesn't want to leave it at that. In discussions with its suppliers, the retailer wants to actively urge them to change their packaging if, for example, cartoon characters advertise sweets. The industry should also restrict advertising otherwise: "We encourage brand manufacturers to also refrain from addressing children - just as we do with our own brands," said Lidl purchasing manager Christoph Graf.
In this way, the retailer wants to prevent products on the shelves that aggressively appeal to children alongside his own brands, which will be designed more neutrally in the future. It's about equal opportunities, says Lidl.
It is therefore not in the dealer's interest if associations mobilize against Özdemir's plans, the chain reports. So far, Lidl has had to exclude public holidays like Halloween from its self-commitment because the competition for confectionery on such occasions is too great. A law would change that.
Härtnagel is familiar with strict laws on the advertising of sweets from Great Britain, where he was Lidl boss until early 2022. Apparently his experiences are positive.
Lidl doesn't have to do without children as customers, he said: "We want to expand positive marketing for healthy food. This means that we will be more active in promoting fruit and vegetables, for example, aimed at children.”
The Lidl manager justified his initiative in a similar way to Özdemir's proposed legislation. "The foundation for our diet is laid in childhood," said Härtnagel. It's about responsibility, not about economic calculation.