Exposure to Marketing
Food companies continue to target children and teens with traditional forms of marketing, such as television advertising and promotions on product packages. However, food marketing today encompasses a myriad of new techniques that did not exist ten years ago. Companies market to children and teens through branded youth-targeted entertainment websites; advertisements on other popular children’s websites (such as Nickelodeon.com, Disney.com); social media (especially YouTube and Facebook); product placements in popular television programs, movies and video games; games and other apps for mobile phones and iPads; and even in schools. Food companies have found engaging and creative ways to advertise their products almost everywhere young people spend their time. Parents find it increasingly difficult to monitor and shield their children from the abundance of marketing for low-nutrient, calorie-dense products that appeal to them in fun, cool and interactive ways.
The Rudd Center Food Advertising to Children and Teens (FACTS) reports document young people’s exposure to a wide variety of marketing for specific product categories, evaluate the messages and interactive content commonly used, and identify marketing practices specifically targeted to children, teens, and black and Hispanic youth. These websites provide copies of the full reports and executive summaries, and tools for parents and child health advocates.
- Serving sugary breakfast cereals reduces the overall nutrition quality of children's breakfast
- Purchases of ready-to-eat cereals differ by sociodemographic groups
- Nearly all breakfast cereals advertised to children in the U.S. do not qualify as nutritious products that should be advertised to children
- Fast-food menu offerings rate poorly in relation to federal dietary recommendations, despite industry initiatives to improve nutritional quality
Additional research and resources
Analyses of child and adolescent exposure to common forms of food marketing: