by Marion Nestle

Currently browsing posts about: Marketing to kids

Oct 25 2018

Do kids need foods just for them? Hint: not after infancy

This is a collection of articles from the industry newsletter, FoodNavigator.com, about marketing foods to kids—kids’ food.

Really, kids would be much better off eating the healthy foods their parents eat.  They don’t need food aimed just at them.  Much of this is about selling products to busy parents.  Here’s how companies do it.

Feb 16 2018

Weekend reading for kids: Eat This!

Andrea Curtis.  Eat This!  How Fast-Food Marketing Gets You to Buy Junk (and how to fight back).  Red Deer Press, 2018.

This, amazingly, is a 36-page toolkit for fighting marketing to kids, with endorsements from Mark Bittman and Jamie Oliver, among others.

As I read it, it’s a manual for teaching food literacy to kids—teaching them how to think critically about all the different ways food and beverage companies try to get kids to buy their products or pester their parents to do so.

The “fighting back” part takes up just two pages, but it suggests plenty of projects that kids can do:

Do taste tests of fast food and the same thing home made.  “Which one is more delicious, more expensive, more healthy?  Which creates the least amount of waste?”

Watch your favorite show…Mark down how many times you see product placement.”

“Quick: think of all the fast-food mascots you know by name…Who are the mascots aimed at?”

The illustrations are kid-friendly as is the text.  I’m guessing this could be used easily with kids from age 8 on.

 

Jan 26 2018

Weekend reading: marketing to kids of color

The Berkeley Media Studies Group has a new framing brief on food-industry targeting of minority communities, how it works, and what to do about it.

Here’s an illustration from the report:

If you want to stop this sort of thing, here’s how.

Oct 19 2017

Childhood obesity: progress in the UK, not so much in the US

FoodNavigator reports that Public Health England is taking on—what a concept!—calories as a means to prevent childhood obesity.

It will be looking at ready-to-serve meals, pizzas, burgers, savory snacks, and sandwiches in an effort to help children cut back on the excess 200-300 calories a day they are currently consuming.

The UK is planning targeted reductions in sugars in processed foods.

The food industry doesn’t like this: bans on advertising sugary foods to kids are “choking the industry.”

I once attended a White House meeting at which I heard representatives of food companies insist that they could not stop marketing to children.  This was their line in the sand.  They had to keep marketing to children to stay in business.

As for the United States, the CDC has just published the latest data on obesity in adults and children.

The trend?  Upward.

Looks like marketing to kids works, and well.

Public health, anyone?

Sep 14 2017

FoodNavigator-USA’s Special Edition on Kids’ Food

Food Navigator is an industry newsletter useful for keeping up with food industry interests.  In Special Editions, it collects articles on specific topics, this on on food for kids.

Special Edition: Food for kids!

Almost a third of American children aged 10-17 are dealing with overweight or obesity, and many are lacking in essential nutrients from potassium, dietary fiber and calcium, to vitamin D. So how can the food industry respond to these concerns and develop more nutritious, but appealing snacks, meals and beverages for kids? We explore innovations targeting every life stage, from a new wave of baby food brands to Paleo meat sticks for tweens.

Feb 1 2017

Food marketing to kids: Heart & Stroke Canada says no!

Heart & Stroke Canada has a new report on food and beverage marketing to kids: The Kids Are Not Alright.

The press release says:

Our children and youth are bombarded with ads for unhealthy products all day, every day, influencing their food and beverage choices. This is having a devastating effect on their health and setting up conflict at home.

Marketing is big business and it is sophisticated…New research reveals that over 90% of food and beverage product ads viewed by kids and teens online are for unhealthy products, and collectively kids between the ages of two and 11 see 25 million food and beverage ads a year on their top 10 favourite websites.

It is time for this marketing storm to stop.

Its advice:

  • Eat healthy early, eat healthy often
  • Family food fights
  • Not your grandmother’s commercials
  • Industry self-regulation is a failure
  • Legislation means a fair fight for everyone

Lots to work with here.  Glad to have it.

Dec 27 2016

Marketing to kids

The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity has a new report out on TV food marketing to kids.

Even though the time kids spend watching TV has not changed much since 2008″

  • They are seeing more food ads per hour
  • White adolescents are seeing 18% more ads.
  • Black adolescents are seeing 30% more ads.

Get those kids outside this week!

Nov 7 2016

WHO Europe takes on food marketing to children

The World Health Organization’s Europe branch has issued a brave new report: Tackling food marketing to children in a digital world: trans-disciplinary perspectives (2016)


I say brave because marketing to children is the food industry’s line in the sand.
Food and beverage companies will not stop marketing to children because doing so will hurt their bottom lines too much.

WHO Europe makes eight recommendations, all of them highly political:

1. Acknowledge States’ duty to protect children online with statutory regulation
2. Extend offline protections online
3. Define legal age, rather than leaving commercial interests to do so
4. Define marketing directed to children
5. Draw on existing legislation, regulation and regulatory agencies
6. Compel private Internet platforms to remove marketing of foods high in saturated fat, salt and/ or free sugars
7. Develop appropriate sanction and penalty mechanisms
8. Devise cross-border international responses

The report’s conclusion:

Children’s participation in digital media should not, however, be predicated on receiving digital HFSS [high in saturated fats, salt and/or free sugars] advertising. Digital marketing can amplify the power of earlier marketing practices by identifying and targeting more vulnerable populations with sophisticated analytics and creating engaging, emotion-focused, entertaining ways to reach children.

Nor should children’s digital participation be predicated on “devolving” consent to parents, which is akin to States expecting parents to completely prohibit their children from watching all television in order to avoid HFSS marketing, rather than implementing broadcast regulations.

Instead, States and supra-national actors should devise ways to allow children to participate in the digital world without being targeted by marketers with immersive, engaging, entertaining marketing of products that have been demonstrated to be injurious to their health.

Now if governments would just listen….