Special Issue "Marketing of Foods and Beverages: Impact and Potential Solutions for Children and Young People’s Health"

A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601). This special issue belongs to the section "Health Economics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Jennifer L. Harris
Website
Guest Editor
Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, Department of Allied Health Sciences, University of Connecticut, One Constitution Plaza, Suite 600, Hartford, CT 06103, USA
Interests: food advertising; food policy; children; adolescents; parents; digital media; targeted marketing; product packaging; retail marketing; baby and toddler foods
Dr. Mimi Tatlow-Golden
Website
Guest Editor
Centre for Children and Young People’s Wellbeing, The Open University, Faculty of Wellbeing, Education and Language Studies, Stuart Hall Building, 2nd floor, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes MK7 6AA, UK
Interests: children; adolescents; food advertising; digital media; children’s rights; child development; children’s experiences

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Worldwide, food, beverage, and restaurant companies target young people with massive amounts of marketing for calorie-dense products high in fat, sugar, and salt (HFSS). Without dramatic changes to this unhealthy food marketing environment, children’s obesity rates and lifelong negative health consequences will continue to climb. Public health research is critical for informing policy makers, advocates, and parents about the extent, nature, and impact of such marketing and effective solutions.

The extent of advertising for HFSS products’ TV programming aimed at young children is well-documented, as are the limitations of industry self-regulation on reducing children’s exposure. Research clearly demonstrates that younger children (under age 12) do not have the cognitive ability to recognize and defend against unwanted advertising effects. Yet many important research questions remain unanswered, namely:

  • How does food marketing affect adolescents and young adults? Does understanding the persuasive intent of food marketing protect them from influence? Are some youth more susceptible to influence (e.g., minority, low-income youth)?
  • How does marketing affect parents’ beliefs and what they feed their children?
  • How have digital media, particularly mobile devices, affected how food companies market to children, children’s exposure to food marketing, and its impact?
  • What is the reach and impact of child- and family-directed food marketing outside of the media, such as sponsorships, in-school marketing, product packaging, and retail-based strategies?
  • How does the overall food marketing environment, including outdoor advertising and the promotion of and access to healthy and unhealthy retail options, affect children’s preferences, diets, and health? How does the marketing environment differ by community characteristics?
  • What is the impact of existing government policies to regulate food marketing, and what is the potential impact of the proposed solutions (e.g., front-of-pack labels or warnings, media literacy education)?

To help answer these and other research questions, we invite authors to submit their original research and reviews for this Special Issue on “Marketing of Foods and Beverages: Impact and Potential Solutions for Children and Young People’s Health.”

Dr. Jennifer L. Harris
Dr. Mimi Tatlow-Golden
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • food advertising
  • children and parents
  • adolescents and young adults
  • digital media
  • social media
  • food policy
  • food environment
  • targeted marketing
  • retail marketing
  • media literacy

Published Papers (16 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
The Extent and Nature of Food and Beverage Company Sponsorship of Children’s Sports Clubs in Canada: A Pilot Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(9), 3023; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17093023 - 27 Apr 2020
Abstract
Food and beverage marketing is considered a determinant of childhood obesity. Sponsorship is a marketing technique used by the food industry to target young people when they are engaged in sports. The purpose of this study was to document the frequency and nature [...] Read more.
Food and beverage marketing is considered a determinant of childhood obesity. Sponsorship is a marketing technique used by the food industry to target young people when they are engaged in sports. The purpose of this study was to document the frequency and nature of food company sponsorship of children’s sports clubs in Ottawa, Canada. Using national data on sports participation, the five most popular sports among Canadian children aged 4–15 years were first selected for inclusion in the study and relevant sports clubs located in Ottawa (Canada) were then identified. Sports club websites were reviewed between September and December 2018 for evidence of club sponsorship. Food company sponsors were identified and classified by food category. Of the 67 sports clubs identified, 40% received some form of food company sponsorship. Overall, sports clubs had 312 commercial and noncommercial sponsors. Food companies constituted 16% of total sponsors and were the second most frequent type of sponsor after sports-related goods, services, and retailers (25%). Fast food restaurants and other restaurants accounted for 45% and 41% of food company sponsors, respectively. Food company sponsorship of children’s sports clubs is frequent with some promoting companies or brands associated with unhealthy foods. Policymakers should consider restricting the sponsorship of children’s sports clubs by food companies that largely sell or promote unhealthy foods. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Soft Drinks and Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Advertising in Spain: Correlation between Nutritional Values and Advertising Discursive Strategies
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2335; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17072335 - 30 Mar 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Spain ranks fifth among European countries for childhood obesity. Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and soft drinks (SDs) are consumed by 81% of the Spanish children weekly. Advertising is one of the factors that contributes to an obesogenic environment. This study correlated longitudinally the nutritional [...] Read more.
Spain ranks fifth among European countries for childhood obesity. Sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) and soft drinks (SDs) are consumed by 81% of the Spanish children weekly. Advertising is one of the factors that contributes to an obesogenic environment. This study correlated longitudinally the nutritional values of SSBs and SDs and advertising discursive strategies between 2013 and 2018 for all media. A mixed-methods approach was applied that included a quantitative analysis of advertising spend data, a content analysis and a study of the discursive strategies used in advertisements. In addition, the Nutri-score system was used in order to determine the nutritional quality of the beverages. The results were analyzed applying the Spanish advertising regulatory framework for obesity prevention. The main findings indicate an association between low nutritional value beverage advertisements and a discourse based on hedonistic elements. In order to prevent childhood obesity in Spain, a stricter regulation of advertising is necessary, especially in aspects such as the language used to present products and celebrity endorsements. Full article
Open AccessArticle
See, Like, Share, Remember: Adolescents’ Responses to Unhealthy-, Healthy- and Non-Food Advertising in Social Media
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(7), 2181; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17072181 - 25 Mar 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Media-saturated digital environments seek to influence social media users’ behaviour, including through marketing. The World Health Organization has identified food marketing, including advertising for unhealthy items, as detrimental to health, and in many countries, regulation restricts such marketing and advertising to younger children. [...] Read more.
Media-saturated digital environments seek to influence social media users’ behaviour, including through marketing. The World Health Organization has identified food marketing, including advertising for unhealthy items, as detrimental to health, and in many countries, regulation restricts such marketing and advertising to younger children. Yet regulation rarely addresses adolescents and few studies have examined their responses to social media advertising. In two studies, we examined adolescents’ attention, memory and social responses to advertising posts, including interactions between product types and source of posts. We hypothesized adolescents would respond more positively to unhealthy food advertising compared to healthy food or non-food advertising, and more positively to ads shared by peers or celebrities than to ads shared by a brand. Outcomes measured were (1a) social responses (likelihood to ‘share’, attitude to peer); (1b) brand memory (recall, recognition) and (2) attention (eye-tracking fixation duration and count). Participants were 151 adolescent social media users (Study 1: n = 72; 13–14 years; M = 13.56 years, SD = 0.5; Study 2: n = 79, 13–17 years, M = 15.37 years, SD = 1.351). They viewed 36 fictitious Facebook profile feeds created to show age-typical content. In a 3 × 3 factorial design, each contained an advertising post that varied by content (healthy/unhealthy/non-food) and source (peer/celebrity/company). Generalised linear mixed models showed that advertisements for unhealthy food evoked significantly more positive responses, compared to non-food and healthy food, on 5 of 6 measures: adolescents were more likely to wish to ‘share’ unhealthy posts; rated peers more positively when they had unhealthy posts in their feeds; recalled and recognised a greater number of unhealthy food brands; and viewed unhealthy advertising posts for longer. Interactions with sources (peers, celebrities and companies) were more complex but also favoured unhealthy food advertising. Implications are that regulation of unhealthy food advertising should address adolescents and digital media. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Food and Beverage Advertising to Children and Adolescents on Television: A Baseline Study
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(6), 1999; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17061999 - 18 Mar 2020
Abstract
The progressive rise in Canadian child obesity has paralleled trends in unhealthy food consumption. Industry has contributed to these trends through aggressive food and beverage marketing in various media and child settings. This study aimed to assess the extent of food and beverage [...] Read more.
The progressive rise in Canadian child obesity has paralleled trends in unhealthy food consumption. Industry has contributed to these trends through aggressive food and beverage marketing in various media and child settings. This study aimed to assess the extent of food and beverage advertising on television in Canada and compare the frequency of food advertising broadcasted during programs targeted to preschoolers, children, adolescents and adults. Annual advertising from 2018 was drawn from publicly available television program logs. Food and beverage advertisement rates and frequencies were compared by, target age group, television station, month and food category, using linear regression modelling and chi-square tests, in SAS version 9.4. Rates of food and beverage advertising differed significantly between the four target age groups, and varied significantly by television station and time of the year, in 2018. The proportion of advertisements for food and beverage products was significantly greater during preschooler-, child-, and adult-programming [5432 (54%), 142,451 (74%) and 2,886,628 (48%), respectively; p < 0.0001] compared to adolescent-programming [27,268 (42%)]. The proportion of advertisements promoting fast food was significantly greater among adolescent-programming [33,475 (51%), p < 0.0001] compared to other age groups. Legislation restricting food and beverage advertising is needed in Canada as current self-regulatory practices are failing to protect young people from unhealthy food advertising and its potential negative health effects. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Effect of Packaging Color and Health Claims on Product Attitude and Buying Intention
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(6), 1991; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17061991 - 18 Mar 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Packaging design is an important factor when consumers look out for healthy food. The study tested for effects of packaging color and health claims of a fictional fruit yoghurt package on attitude towards the product and subsequently, consumer’s buying intention, using a 2 [...] Read more.
Packaging design is an important factor when consumers look out for healthy food. The study tested for effects of packaging color and health claims of a fictional fruit yoghurt package on attitude towards the product and subsequently, consumer’s buying intention, using a 2 × 2 between-subjects experimental design. We also tested whether interest in healthy food is a moderating factor. We found no evidence to support that visual cues (color) and textual cues (health-related advertising claims) are effective in influencing consumer attitude towards the product. Consumers did not show a more positive attitude towards products presented in low-arousal packaging colors (green/blue) compared to high arousal packaging colors (red/yellow). Also, the claim “palatability” did not result in a more positive attitude towards the product than the claim “healthy”. A moderating role of interest in healthy food could not be confirmed. The results confirmed, however, a significant relation of attitude towards the product and buying intention. Thus, buying intention could be explained mostly by whether consumers had a positive or negative attitude towards the product, which confirms that people’s attitudes are powerful predictors of buying decisions. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Adolescents’ Reactions to Adverts for Fast-Food and Confectionery Brands That are High in Fat, Salt, and/or Sugar (HFSS), and Possible Implications for Future Research and Regulation: Findings from a Cross-Sectional Survey of 11–19 Year Olds in the United Kingdom
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(5), 1689; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17051689 - 05 Mar 2020
Abstract
The influence that marketing for foods high in fat, salt, and/or sugar (HFSS) has on adolescents extends beyond a dose-response relationship between exposure and consumption. It is also important to explore how marketing shapes or reinforces product/brand attitudes, and whether this varies by [...] Read more.
The influence that marketing for foods high in fat, salt, and/or sugar (HFSS) has on adolescents extends beyond a dose-response relationship between exposure and consumption. It is also important to explore how marketing shapes or reinforces product/brand attitudes, and whether this varies by demography and Body Mass Index (BMI). To examine this, a cross-sectional survey was conducted with 11–19 year olds in the United Kingdom (n = 3348). Participants watched 30 s video adverts for a fast-food and confectionery brand. For each advert, participants reported reactions on eight measures (e.g., 1 = Makes [product] seem unpopular choice–5 = Makes [product] seem popular choice), which were binary coded based on whether a positive reaction was reported (Yes/No). At least half of adolescents had positive reactions to both adverts for 5/8 measures. Positive reactions had associations with age, gender and, to a lesser extent, BMI. For example, 11–15 year olds were more likely than 16–19 year olds to report appeal to their age group for the fast-food (OR = 1.33, 95% CI: 1.13–1.58) and confectionery advert (OR = 1.79, 95% CI: 1.51–2.11). If these reactions are typical of other HFSS products, future research and regulatory change should examine whether additional controls on the content of HFSS marketing, for example mandated health or nutritional information and revised definitions of youth appeal, offer additional protection to young people. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Examining the Relationship between Youth-Targeted Food Marketing Expenditures and the Demographics of Social Media Followers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(5), 1631; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17051631 - 03 Mar 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Background: To determine how many adolescents follow food/beverage brands on Instagram and Twitter, and examine associations between brands’ youth-targeted marketing practices and percentages of adolescent followers. Methods: We purchased data from Demographics Pro to characterize the demographics of Twitter and Instagram [...] Read more.
Background: To determine how many adolescents follow food/beverage brands on Instagram and Twitter, and examine associations between brands’ youth-targeted marketing practices and percentages of adolescent followers. Methods: We purchased data from Demographics Pro to characterize the demographics of Twitter and Instagram users who followed 27 of the most highly advertised fast food, snack, and drink brands in 2019. We used one-sample t-tests to compare percentages of adolescent followers of the selected brands’ accounts versus all social media accounts, independent samples t-tests to compare followers of sugary versus low-calorie drink brands, and linear regression to examine associations between youth-targeted marketing practices and the percentages of adolescent followers. Results: An estimated 6.2 million adolescents followed the selected brands. A higher percentage of adolescents followed the selected brands’ accounts (9.2%) compared to any account on Twitter (1.2%) (p < 0.001), but not Instagram. A higher percentage of adolescents followed sugary (7.9%) versus low-calorie drink brands (4.3%) on Instagram (p = 0.02), but we observed the opposite pattern for adults on Twitter and Instagram. Television advertising expenditures were positively associated with percentages of adolescent followers of the selected brands on Twitter (p = 0.03), but not Instagram. Conclusions: Food and sugary drink brands maintain millions of adolescent followers on social media. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Marketing to Children in Supermarkets: An Opportunity for Public Policy to Improve Children’s Diets
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(4), 1284; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17041284 - 17 Feb 2020
Abstract
Public health experts worldwide are calling for a reduction of the marketing of nutrient-poor food and beverages to children. However, industry self-regulation and most government policies do not address in-store marketing, including shelf placement and retail promotions. This paper reports two U.S.-based studies [...] Read more.
Public health experts worldwide are calling for a reduction of the marketing of nutrient-poor food and beverages to children. However, industry self-regulation and most government policies do not address in-store marketing, including shelf placement and retail promotions. This paper reports two U.S.-based studies examining the prevalence and potential impact of in-store marketing for nutrient-poor child-targeted products. Study 1 compares the in-store marketing of children’s breakfast cereals with the marketing of other (family/adult) cereals, including shelf space allocation and placement, special displays and promotions, using a national audit of U.S. supermarkets. Child-targeted cereals received more shelf space, middle- and lower-shelf placements, special displays, and promotions compared with other cereals. Study 2 compares the proportion of product sales associated with in-store displays and promotions for child-targeted versus other fruit drinks/juices, using syndicated sales data. A higher proportion of child-targeted drink sales were associated with displays and promotions than sales of other drinks. In both categories, the results were due primarily to major company products. Although in-store marketing of child-targeted products likely appeals to both children and parents, these practices encourage children’s consumption of nutrient-poor food and drinks. If companies will not voluntarily address in-store marketing to children, government policy options are available to limit the marketing of unhealthy foods in the supermarket. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluating the Canadian Packaged Food Supply Using Health Canada’s Proposed Nutrient Criteria for Restricting Food and Beverage Marketing to Children
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(4), 1250; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17041250 - 15 Feb 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Federally mandated restrictions on food and beverage marketing to kids (M2K) have been re-introduced as a national public health priority in Canada by the newly elected government, following the failure to implement a similar policy first proposed in 2016. This study examined the [...] Read more.
Federally mandated restrictions on food and beverage marketing to kids (M2K) have been re-introduced as a national public health priority in Canada by the newly elected government, following the failure to implement a similar policy first proposed in 2016. This study examined the extent to which Canadian packaged foods, including products already displaying M2K on the packaging, would be permitted to be marketed, based on the nutrient criteria for marketing restrictions defined by Health Canada (in December 2018) as part of the previous policy proposal. Products from the University of Toronto Food Label Information Program 2013 database (n = 15,200) were evaluated using Health Canada’s published criteria: thresholds for sodium, sugars and saturated fats that products cannot exceed in order to be M2K. The proportion of products exceeding no thresholds (i.e., permitted to be M2K), the number of thresholds exceeded, and the proportion exceeding each individual threshold were calculated overall and in the subsample of products displaying M2K on the packaging (n = 747). Overall, 18.0% of products would be permitted to be M2K, versus 2.7% of products displaying M2K. Sodium was the most exceeded threshold overall (57.5% of products), whereas sugars was the most exceeded by products displaying M2K (80.1%). Only 4.7% of all products versus 10.4% of products displaying M2K exceeded all three thresholds. These results highlight the importance of reintroducing federal regulations restricting M2K in Canada and including marketing on product packaging in the regulatory scope. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Development of a Responsible Policy Index to Improve Statutory and Self-Regulatory Policies that Protect Children’s Diet and Health in the America’s Region
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(2), 495; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17020495 - 13 Jan 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
In 2010, 193 Member States of the World Health Organization (WHO) endorsed World Health Assembly Resolution WHA63.14 to restrict the marketing of food and beverage products high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) to children to prevent obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). No [...] Read more.
In 2010, 193 Member States of the World Health Organization (WHO) endorsed World Health Assembly Resolution WHA63.14 to restrict the marketing of food and beverage products high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) to children to prevent obesity and non-communicable diseases (NCDs). No study has examined HFSS marketing policies across the WHO regional office countries in the Americas. Between 2018 and 2019, a transdisciplinary team examined policies to restrict HFSS food and beverage product marketing to children to develop a responsible policy index (RESPI) that provides a quality score based on policy characteristics and marketing techniques. After designing the RESPI, we conducted a comprehensive literature review through October 2019 to examine policies in 14 countries in the WHO Americans Region. We categorized policies (n = 38) as either self-regulatory or statutory and calculated the RESPI scores, ranked from 0 (lowest) to 10 (highest). Results showed Brazil, Canada, Chile, and Uruguay had the highest RESPI scores associated with statutory policies that restricted point of sale, cartoon, licensed media characters and celebrities; and HFSS products in schools and child care settings, and broadcast and print media. Policymakers can use the RESPI tool to evaluate marketing policies within and across geopolitical boundaries to protect children’s diet and health. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
“It’s Just Addictive People That Make Addictive Videos”: Children’s Understanding of and Attitudes towards Influencer Marketing of Food and Beverages by YouTube Video Bloggers
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2020, 17(2), 449; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph17020449 - 09 Jan 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Exposure to influencer marketing of foods and beverages high in fat, sugar, and/or salt (HFSS) increases children’s immediate intake. This study qualitatively explored children’s understanding of, and attitudes towards, this marketing, to elucidate potential mechanisms through which exposure affects behavior. In six focus [...] Read more.
Exposure to influencer marketing of foods and beverages high in fat, sugar, and/or salt (HFSS) increases children’s immediate intake. This study qualitatively explored children’s understanding of, and attitudes towards, this marketing, to elucidate potential mechanisms through which exposure affects behavior. In six focus groups (n = 4) children (10–11 years) were shown a YouTube video featuring influencer marketing of an HFSS product. Inductive thematic analysis identified six themes from children’s discussions of this marketing: (1) YouTubers fill a gap in children’s lives, (2) the accessibility of YouTubers increases children’s understanding of their actions, (3) influencer marketing impacts all—the influencer, the brand, and the viewer, (4) attitudes towards influencer marketing are most affected by a YouTuber’s familiarity, (5) YouTuber influencer marketing is effective because they are not ‘strangers’, (6) children feel able to resist influencer marketing of HFSS products. Children had an understanding of the persuasive intent of this marketing, and although most were sceptical, familiar YouTubers elicited particularly sympathetic attitudes. Children felt affected by influencer marketing of HFSS products, but believed they were able to resist it. Beyond theoretical insight, this study adds to the growing body of evidence to suggest children’s exposure to HFSS influencer marketing should be reduced. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Prevalence of Child-Directed Marketing on Breakfast Cereal Packages before and after Chile’s Food Marketing Law: A Pre- and Post-Quantitative Content Analysis
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(22), 4501; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16224501 - 15 Nov 2019
Cited by 8
Abstract
Food marketing has been identified as a contributing factor in childhood obesity, prompting global health organizations to recommend restrictions on unhealthy food marketing to children. Chile has responded to this recommendation with a restriction on child-directed marketing for products that exceed certain regulation-defined [...] Read more.
Food marketing has been identified as a contributing factor in childhood obesity, prompting global health organizations to recommend restrictions on unhealthy food marketing to children. Chile has responded to this recommendation with a restriction on child-directed marketing for products that exceed certain regulation-defined thresholds in sugars, saturated fats, sodium, or calories. Child-directed strategies are allowed for products that do not exceed these thresholds. To evaluate changes in marketing due to this restriction, we examined differences in the use of child-directed strategies on breakfast cereal packages that exceeded the defined thresholds vs. those that did not exceed the thresholds before (n = 168) and after (n = 153) the restriction was implemented. Photographs of cereal packages were taken from top supermarket chains in Santiago. Photographed cereals were classified as “high-in” if they exceeded any nutrient threshold described in the regulation. We found that the percentage of all cereal packages using child-directed strategies before implementation (36%) was significantly lower after implementation (21%), p < 0.05. This overall decrease is due to the decrease we found in the percentage of “high-in” cereals using child-directed strategies after implementation (43% before implementation, 15% after implementation), p < 0.05. In contrast, a greater percentage of packages that did not qualify as “high-in” used child-directed strategies after implementation (30%) compared with before implementation (8%), p < 0.05. The results suggest that the Chilean food marketing regulation can be effective at reducing the use of child-directed marketing for unhealthy food products. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Mapping the Celebrity Endorsement of Branded Food and Beverage Products and Marketing Campaigns in the United States, 1990–2017
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(19), 3743; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16193743 - 04 Oct 2019
Cited by 3
Abstract
Celebrity endorsement used to promote energy-dense and nutrient-poor (EDNP) food and beverage products may contribute to poor dietary habits. This study examined celebrity endorsement of branded food and beverage products and marketing campaigns in the United States (US) from 1990 to 2017. Celebrity [...] Read more.
Celebrity endorsement used to promote energy-dense and nutrient-poor (EDNP) food and beverage products may contribute to poor dietary habits. This study examined celebrity endorsement of branded food and beverage products and marketing campaigns in the United States (US) from 1990 to 2017. Celebrity endorsement data were collected from peer-reviewed and grey literature. Interactive data visualizations were created for the endorsement relationships between celebrities, companies and products whose nutritional profiles were compared with the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Smart Snacks Standards. Logistic regression was used to explore associations between celebrities’ demographic profiles and the nutritional profiles of products. Results showed 542 celebrities were associated with 732 endorsements representing 120 brands of 59 companies across 10 food and beverage categories. Two thirds (67.2%; n = 80) of the brands represented EDNP products that did not align with the USDA’s Smart Snacks Standards. Logistic regression analysis indicated that Millennial (p = 0.008) and male celebrities (p = 0.041) were more likely to endorse EDNP products than Generation Z teen and female celebrities, respectively. No statistical significance was observed for celebrities of other demographic profiles. This study may inform future policies and actions of the US government, industry, researchers and consumer advocacy organizations to use celebrity endorsement to promote healthy food environments for Americans. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Impact of Voluntary Policies on Parents’ Ability to Select Healthy Foods in Supermarkets: A Qualitative Study of Australian Parental Views
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(18), 3377; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16183377 - 12 Sep 2019
Abstract
Food packaging is used for marketing purposes, providing consumers with information about product attributes at the point-of-sale and thus influencing food choice. The Australian government focuses on voluntary policies to address inappropriate food marketing, including the Health Star Rating nutrition label. This research [...] Read more.
Food packaging is used for marketing purposes, providing consumers with information about product attributes at the point-of-sale and thus influencing food choice. The Australian government focuses on voluntary policies to address inappropriate food marketing, including the Health Star Rating nutrition label. This research explored the way marketing via packaging information influences Australian parents’ ability to select healthy foods for their children, and who parents believe should be responsible for helping them. Five 90-min focus groups were conducted by an experienced facilitator in Perth, Western Australia. Four fathers and 33 mothers of children aged 2–8 years participated. Group discussions were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim and inductive thematic content analysis conducted using NVivo11. Seven themes were derived: (1) pressure of meeting multiple demands; (2) desire to speed up shopping; (3) feeding them well versus keeping them happy; (4) lack of certainty in packaging information; (5) government is trusted and should take charge; (6) food manufacturers’ health messages are not trusted; (7) supermarkets should assist parents to select healthy foods. Food packaging information appears to be contributing to parents’ uncertainty regarding healthy food choices. Supermarkets could respond to parents’ trust in them by implementing structural policies, providing shopping environments that support and encourage healthy food choices. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Skin Conductance Responses Indicate Children are Physiologically Aroused by Their Favourite Branded Food and Drink Products
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(17), 3014; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16173014 - 21 Aug 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Children’s favourite food and beverage brands use various tactics to foster positive associations and loyalty. This brand-consumer dynamic is frequently influenced by the use of implicit techniques and emotional appeals. Few studies have used physiological methods to examine the connections that brands build [...] Read more.
Children’s favourite food and beverage brands use various tactics to foster positive associations and loyalty. This brand-consumer dynamic is frequently influenced by the use of implicit techniques and emotional appeals. Few studies have used physiological methods to examine the connections that brands build with children and the influence this has on their automatic responses. These techniques are potentially less prone to bias than behavioural or cognitive methods. This is the first study to explore the implicit response that children have to images of their favourite food and beverage brands using skin conductance responses as a marker of arousal. Australian children aged 8–11 years (n = 48) were recruited. Images of the participants’ favourite branded food and beverage products, alongside images of the same products unpackaged, their family and friends, and neutral objects were presented in a randomised order with a standard timed interval between images. Children were significantly more aroused by branded images of their favourite food and beverage products than by their unpackaged counterparts (p < 0.042, d = 0.4). The physiological response to the branded products was similar to the response to the children’s family and friends (p = 0.900, d = −0.02). These findings suggest that children may have an implicit connection to their favourite branded products. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Children’s Exposure to Television Food Advertising Contributes to Strong Brand Attachments
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2019, 16(13), 2358; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16132358 - 03 Jul 2019
Cited by 7
Abstract
Children’s exposure to unhealthy food marketing is one factor contributing to childhood obesity. The impact of marketing on children’s weight likely occurs via a cascade pathway, through influences on children’s food brand awareness, emotional responses, purchasing and consumption. Thus, building emotional attachments to [...] Read more.
Children’s exposure to unhealthy food marketing is one factor contributing to childhood obesity. The impact of marketing on children’s weight likely occurs via a cascade pathway, through influences on children’s food brand awareness, emotional responses, purchasing and consumption. Thus, building emotional attachments to brands is a major marketing imperative. This study explored Australian children’s emotional attachments to food and drink brands and compared the strength of these attachments to their food marketing exposure, using television viewing as a proxy indicator. A cross-sectional face-to-face survey was conducted with 282 Australian children (8–12 years). Children were asked to indicate their agreement/disagreement with statements about their favourite food and drink brands, as an indicator of the strength and prominence of their brand attachments. Questions captured information about minutes/day of television viewing and the extent that they were exposed to advertising (watched live or did not skip through ads on recorded television). For those children who were exposed to advertisements, their age and commercial television viewing time had significant effects on food and drink brand attachments (p = 0.001). The development of brand attachments is an intermediary pathway through which marketing operates on behavioural and health outcomes. Reducing children’s exposure to unhealthy food marketing should be a policy priority for governments towards obesity and non-communicable disease prevention. Full article
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