TfL has left a cheese company’s bosses feeling blue after banning ads depicting their products on the tube – saying the diet staple is too unhealthy.
London’s transport network has been cracking down on unhealthy food advertising on the tube, but according to The Times this now includes the dairy favourite.
The founder of Cheese Geek, Edward Hancock, said the ban was “crazy” and said he couldn’t understand why fizzy drink ads were allowed on the network but not artisan cheeses.
Hancock said cheese “has been shown in numerous recent studies to be beneficial for health.”
TfL banned high fat advertising in 2019. It was intended to capture fast food but appears to have widened in scope to high-end cheddar.
TfL said the cheese ads – which were to be part of a campaign run by Workspace, the office provider and consultancy – could not go on the network because TfL uses “the Food Standards Agency’s model to define foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt.”
TfL’s ad ban has come under criticism from free speech and free market advocates.
A study which suggested the ban prevented 100,000 cases of obesity was described as “junk science” by the Institute of Economic Affairs.
“Nowhere in the study is the reality of what has actually happened in London since 2019, when the ban was introduced, allowed to intrude. Child obesity rates have risen across the UK since 2019, but the biggest increase has been in London. In England, obesity among 11 year olds rose from 21 per cent to 25.5 per cent, but rates shot up twice as fast in London, from 23.7 per cent to 30 per cent. London now has the highest rate of childhood obesity in the country,” he said.
A Workspace spokesman told The Times it was “a shame” that the ads wouldn’t run on TfL.
This is not the first ads controversy on the Tube.
A protein company was famously banned from running “beach body ready?” ads on the network, with critics saying the ads encouraged body image issues.