Author(s): Harris JL, Schwartz MB, Brownell KD
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To analyse cross-promotions targeted to children and adolescents on packaging in the supermarket. DESIGN: On three occasions from 2006 to 2008, researchers purchased all foods in a large supermarket that included a cross-promotion on the package. A total of 397 products were categorized by promotional partner, food category, targeted age group, promotion type, product nutrition, and company policies on marketing to children. RESULTS: The number of products with youth-oriented cross-promotions increased by 78 \% during the period examined. Overall, 71 \% of cross-promotions involved third-party licensed characters and 57 \% appealed primarily to children under 12 years of age; however, the use of other forms of promotions increased from 5 \% of the total in 2006 to 53 \% in 2008, and promotions targeting pre-school and general audiences increased from 23 \% to 54 \% of the total. Only 18 \% of products met accepted nutrition standards for foods sold to youth, and nutritional quality declined during the period examined. Food manufacturers with policies limiting marketing to children represented 65 \% of all youth-oriented cross-promotions, their use of cross-promotions increased significantly, and the nutritional quality of their products did not improve. Some media companies did reduce the use of their properties on food promotions. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, the supermarket environment worsened due to an increase in cross-promotions targeted to children and adolescents and a decline in the nutritional quality of these products. This analysis failed to find improvements in food marketing to youth and highlights the need to expand current industry self-regulatory pledges.
This article was published in Public Health Nutr
and referenced in Journal of Obesity & Weight Loss Therapy