What are Cartoon Network s guidelines regarding licensing its characters on food and beverages?
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What are Cartoon Network's guidelines regarding licensing its characters on food and beverages?

To reflect our ongoing commitment to promote lifetime health and wellness for children and families, Cartoon Network has worked with nutritional science experts since 2007 to create, implement and update our food and beverage-related guidelines for the use of our characters.  Our guidelines take into account current nutrition science and may be updated or revised from time to time in consultation with nutritional experts. Current guidelines are based on nutritional standards recommended by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), the U.S. Dietary Guidelines Committee, and the uniform science-based standard adopted by the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (“CFBAI”).

These guidelines govern how Cartoon Network allows its original characters to be used in relation to food-related advertisers across screens and on packaged goods in the U.S. Under our policies, Cartoon Network limits the use of our characters aimed at children under the age of 12 to food and beverage products that meet specific nutrition criteria. These criteria include a cap on total calories per appropriate serving with limits on saturated fat, added trans fat, sodium, and added sugar, as well as a requirement for fruit, vegetables, non/low fat dairy, and/or whole grains and/or nutrients such as vitamins A, C and D, iron, calcium, potassium, protein, and fiber. The only exceptions are for the licensing of special occasion foods and limited 100-calorie items.

At Cartoon Network, we work with nationally recognized subject matter experts in developing and crafting our health and fitness projects. Joanne Ikeda, Nutritionist Emeritus, UC Berkeley and a nationally recognized expert on pediatric obesity and the dietary practices of ethnic and immigrant populations; and Bonnie Taub-Dix, RDN, a media/social media consultant and former national spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics continue to guide our efforts in this area. Ms. Taub-Dix, who specializes in nutritional psychotherapy, obesity, and weight management is the author of READ IT BEFORE YOU EAT IT, a practical guide to choosing the healthiest food in the supermarket.

Cartoon Network continues to look for opportunities and work with nutrition experts to develop creative new content that includes messages about nutrition and activity across screens and in print. Our goal is to positively influence, educate and encourage families to adopt balanced and healthy lifestyles. This builds on Cartoon Network's extensive variety of health and fitness outreach programs and on-screen promotions aimed at reaching children through healthy lifestyle messages. These initiatives include targeted public-private partnerships, public service campaigns, online education, and off-channel activities and special events.

For more information on healthy eating go to http://www.choosemyplate.gov/    
 




 


Cartoon Network Nutrition Criteria For Use of Characters
For Licensed Products and Promotional Tie-Ins
(January 1, 2017)

  Serving Amount Calories Sat Fat Sodium Total Sugars Notes
Beverages            
Juices LSS ≤ 160
 
0 g
 
≤ 140 mg No added sugars ≥ ½ c F/V juices
A serving must contain > 4 fl oz of 100% F/V juice
Sugars limited to those naturally occurring in F/V
Milks and milk substitutes 8 fl oz
 
≤ 150
 
≤ 2 g
 
≤ 200 mg ≤ 24 g
 
1 c dairy
LSS < 8 fl oz amounts for dairy and calories, sat fat, sodium and total sugars to be scaled proportionately
Powder/syrup flavorings mixed with 8 fl oz non-fat milk are allowed ≤ 25 g total sugars as prepared
Snacks            
Yogurts and yogurt-type products 6 oz
 
≤ 170
 
≤ 2 g
 
≤ 140 mg
 
≤ 23 g
 
≥ ½ c dairy and ≥ 10% DV calcium
6 oz (170 g) is most common single serving
For LSS < 6 oz amounts for dairy, calcium and calories, sat fat, sodium and total sugars to be proportionately lower
Dairy-based desserts ½ c ≤ 120
 
≤ 2 g
 
≤ 110 mg ≤ 20 g ≥ ¼ c dairy and ≥ 10% DV calcium
Serving sizes limited to ½ c
For LSS < ½ c amounts for dairy and calcium and calories, sat fat, sodium and total sugars to be scaled proportionately
Cheese and cheese products LSS ≤ 80
 
≤ 3 g
 
≤ 290 mg ≤ 2 g
 
≥ ½ c dairy equivalent (provides ≥ 10% DV calcium)
For LSS < 1 oz dairy equivalent to be scaled to ≥ ⅓ c dairy equivalent and calcium to ≥ 10% DV
Grain, fruit and vegetable products, and items not in other categories LSS
 
≤ 150
 
≤ 1.5 g
 
≤ 290 mg
 
≤ 10 g
 
≥ ½ serving of F/V/D/WG or
≥ 10% DV of any essential nutrient
Includes products that have a small RACC (i.e., ≤ 30 g or ≤ 2 tbsp) and/or are relatively light in density (e.g., g/cup)
Examples include most children’s breakfast cereals, crackers, and pretzels
Grain, fruit and vegetable products, and items not in other categories LSS > 150-200
 
≤ 2 g
 
≤ 360 mg
 
≤ 12 g
 
≥ ½ serving of F/V/D/WG or
≥ 10% DV of any essential nutrient
Includes products that have a larger RACC and/or higher density
Examples include denser breakfast cereals (e.g., shredded wheat), waffles, and vegetable products with sauces
Soups and meal sauces LSS
 
≤ 200
 
≤ 2 g
 
≤ 480 mg ≤ 6 g
 
≥ ½ serving of F/V/D/WG or
≥ 10% DV of any essential nutrient
Tomato-based products allowed ≤ 12 g of total sugars/LSS to include sugars naturally occurring in tomatoes & those added to balance product pH
Seeds, nuts, and nut butters and spreads 1 oz or 2 tbsp
 
≤ 220
 
≤ 3.5 g
 
≤ 240 mg
 
≤ 4 g
 
≥ 1 oz protein equivalent
For LSS < 1 oz or 2 tbsp amounts for protein equivalents and calories, sat fat, sodium and total sugars to be scaled proportionately
Meat, fish, and poultry products LSS
 
≤ 120
 
≤ 2 g
 
≤ 480 mg
 
≤ 2 g
 
≥ 1 oz equivalent of meat, fish, or poultry, and ≥ 10% DV of any essential nutrient
For LSS ≤ 1 oz calories, sat fat, sodium and total sugars reduced to ≤ 60 kcal, ≤ 1 g sat fat, ≤ 240 mg sodium and ≤ 1 g total sugars
Meals            
Mixed dishes
 
LSS
 
≤ 280
 
≤ 2.5 g
 
≤ 540 mg
 
≤ 10 g
 
≥ ½ serving of F/V/D/WG or
≥ 10% DV of two essential nutrients
Products include casseroles, burritos, pizzas, & sandwiches that do not meet FDA/USDA definition for main dishes
Items that contain ≤ 200 kcal and meet criteria for calories, sat fat, sodium and total sugars may qualify if they contain ≥ ½ serving of F/V/D/WG or ≥ 10% DV of any essential nutrient
Main dishes and entrées LSS ≤ 350
 
≤ 10% kcal ≤ 600 mg ≤ 15 g
 
≥ 1 serving of F/V/D/WG
or
≥ ½ serving of F/V/D/WG and ≥ 10% DV of two essential nutrients
Items must meet FDA/USDA definition for main dishes
Small meals
 
LSS
 
≤ 450
 
≤ 10% kcal
 
≤ 600 mg
 
≤ 17/12 g (See notes)
 
≥ 1½ servings of F/V/D/WG or
≥ 1 serving of F/V/D/WG and ≥ 10% DV of three essential nutrients
Small meals contain multiple items but do not meet FDA/USDA definition for meals
Sugars from one qualifying milk/milk substitute, or qualifying yogurt/yogurt-type product, or qualifying fruit (i.e., without added sugars) or qualifying F/V juice are not counted in the 17 g total sugars limits
When two qualifying items are present, the sugars from both items are not counted in the total sugars limit, but the limits (to account for all other items) are reduced to 12 g
All other criteria (calorie, sat fat, and sodium limits) must be met
Meals (entrée and other items including a beverage) Meal
 
≤ 600
 
≤ 10% kcal
 
≤ 740 mg
 
≤ 20/15 g (See notes)
 
≥ 2 servings of F/V/D/WG
or
≥ 1½ servings of F/V/D/WG and ≥ 10% DV of three essential nutrients
Items must meet FDA/USDA definition for meals
Sugars from one qualifying milk/milk substitute, or qualifying yogurt/yogurt-type product, or qualifying fruit (i.e., without added sugars) or qualifying F/V juice are not counted in the 20 g total sugars limits
When two qualifying items are present, the sugars from both items are not counted in the total sugars limit, but the limits (to account for all other items) are reduced to 15 g (meals)
All other criteria (calorie, sat fat, and sodium limits) must be met

Trans fat - The criteria for trans fat is 0 g labeled for all categories. For foods in the meat and dairy categories served as individual foods or as part of composite dishes or meals (e.g., soups, mixed dishes, entrees, meal-type products), naturally occurring trans fats are excluded. 
Exemptions:  A limited exception may be made for Licensed Products for special occasion foods and limited 100-calorie items such as portion-controlled salty snacks or confectionary items that may be enjoyed during birthdays, holidays or an occasional indulgence.
  • Sugar-free mints and gum.
  • The following products also are exempt from the nutrient criteria specified above, except as indicated in notes: 
    • Fruit products without added sugars;
    • Vegetable products without added fats and which meet FDA regulations for “very low sodium;” 
    • Beverages (including bottled waters) that meet FDA regulations for “low calorie” and “very low sodium” (diet sodas and drinks with added caffeine or herbal supplements are excluded from this exemption).

Abbreviations and Glossary

DV: Daily Value.
Essential Nutrients:  Those occurring naturally in foods (or that are added to foods to meet standards of identity or to restore nutrients lost in processing), and for which a DV has been established. If fortification is used to meet the criteria, the nutrient must be a DGA 2010 nutrient of concern (calcium, fiber, potassium, vitamin D) or a nutrient that is required to be listed on the Nutrition Facts Panel (iron, vitamins A & C).
F/V/D/WG: Any combination of fruits, vegetables, non/low-fat dairy, and/or whole grains.
LSS: Labeled serving size.
NA: Not applicable.
Qualifying F/V Juice: Any fruit or vegetable juice or blend that contains no added sugars that meets the category requirements for juice.
Qualifying Flavored Milk/Milk Substitute/Yogurt/Yogurt-type Product: These are products that meet the criteria for milk/milk substitutes, or yogurt/yogurt-type products.
RACC: Reference amount customarily consumed.
Serving(s): See USDA Food Group Serving Equivalents.
Total Sugars: Include naturally occurring and added sugars.


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Topic Information
  • Topic #: 5431-195
  • Date Created: 09/23/2008
  • Last Modified Since: 02/03/2017
  • Viewed: 46186
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