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Covid-19: Food and drink companies are exploiting pandemic to further their brands, analysis finds

BMJ 2020; 370 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m3548 (Published 11 September 2020) Cite this as: BMJ 2020;370:m3548

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Re: Covid-19: Food and drink companies are exploiting pandemic to further their brands, analysis finds

Dear Editor

A timely reminder that whilst governments, health services and the public health community are focusing on the COVID response other sectors of society see this as an opportunity to promote health harming products to "captive" audiences.

Having repeatedly shouted at the TV for the last three weeks every time a UK cider advert, which so clearly promotes alcohol targeted at young people with images of mass gathering with no social distancing in sight, is shown I finally "got off the couch" on Saturday to file a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority. This is an advert that breaches their code by promoting a course of action that is both harmful (mass gatherings with no social distancing) and something which is now, finally, illegal for more than six people to gather.

Whilst much been written about a green recovery from COVID surely we should also be advocating for both an environmentally and health enhancing way out of COVID?

Yet again it seems that many of the food and drink companies' commitment to responsible promotions is only paper thin and worse so clearly using COVID as a time to gain competitive advantage.

Competing interests: No competing interests

14 September 2020
Chris J Lovitt
Public Health Consultant
Whitechapel, London