Restrictions on marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to children is a globally recommended policy measure to improve diets and health. The aim of the analysis was to identify opportunities to enable policy learning and shift beliefs of relevant actors, to engender policy progress on restrictions on marketing of unhealthy foods to children. We drew on the Advocacy Coalition Framework to thematically analyse data from qualitative policy interviews conducted Australia (n = 24), Fiji (n = 10) and Thailand (n = 20). In all three countries two clear and opposing advocacy coalitions were evident within the policy subsystem related to regulation of unhealthy food marketing, which we termed the ‘strengthen regulation’ and ‘minimal/self regulation’ coalitions. Contributors to policy stasis on this issue were identified as tensions between public health and economic objectives of government, and limited formal and informal spaces for productive dialogue. The analysis also identified opportunities for policy learning that could enable policy progress on restrictions on marketing of unhealthy foods to children as: taking an incremental approach to policy change, defining permitted (rather than restricted) foods, investing in new public health expertise related to emerging marketing approaches and scaling up of monitoring of impacts. The insights from this study are likely to be relevant to many countries seeking to strengthen regulation of marketing to children, in response to recent global recommendations.

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