By Thair Shaikh
One of the largest makers of chocolate bars whose brands include Mars and Snickers is to stop marketing to children younger than 12 by the end of the year.
It is the first time a major foodmaker has set out to stop targeting snack foods to such a wide age group. Masterfoods, which also makes Maltesers, Topic, Revel and Twix, said: "We have decided to make an official policy change to a cut-off age of 12 years for all our core products."
The measure reflects mounting concerns about the links between advertising and childhood obesity and follows moves by some public authorities to bring in tighter food regulations.
The company already has a policy of not advertising to children under six and, earlier this year, said its chocolate bars would display calorie counts on wrappers. A spokesman said the firm had written to Robert Madelin, the European Commission's director-general for health and consumer protection, outlining its new policy.
The letter said the policy, which will apply to all advertising, including online, will be adopted by the end of the year.