LONDON (Reuters) - Consumer goods company Unilever (ULVR.L) (UNc.AS) said on Thursday it will no longer market foods and drinks to children under the age of 12 in an effort to reduce child obesity and boost good eating habits.

FILE PHOTO: Unilever's sign is seen at the Miko factory outside Saint-Dizier, France, January 22, 2019. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/File Photo

Unilever is one of a number of companies including Nestle NESN.VX, Danone (DANO.PA) and Mars Inc (MARS.N) who have recently stated new pledges on children’s health, health promotion and nutrition, including to provide universal access to essential nutrients, as the government pushes a target to reduce childhood obesity in the United Kingdom.

Unilever said the policy will affect all its products including Knorr soups, Dove soap, and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. The food and drink market to children and young people in the United Kingdom accounts for around 4 percent of the company’s sales, according to Bernstein analysts.

In the European Union, 15 countries have signed the European Protocol to Decriminalize Food Marketing to Children under the age of 12. France, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, Denmark, Austria, Finland, Latvia, the Netherlands, Portugal, Cyprus, Slovenia, Spain, Slovakia, Latvia, France, the United Kingdom and Luxembourg are part of the protocol.

Unilever said that previously it had taken a “disproportionate share of marketing of food and drink products to children”, and it had also used its platforms to encourage children to drink sugary drinks.