Changing the Trend on Food and Beverage Marketing to Children
Did you know that children are being marketed to on a daily basis? This is especially true when it comes to the food they consume. We all want what’s best for our children—especially when it comes to their health and nutrition. So, why is keeping junk food out of the house so difficult? Where are children learning about the food they eat and the beverages they drink?
As parents, it is hard to get away from advertising and marketing for children and youth. Marketing is everywhere: television, video games, online, in movies, endorsed by characters and celebrities, and even on packages and labeling of products.
What is marketing?
By its very nature, marketing is designed to persuade people into purchasing a product or service. For influential young minds, this persuasion can lead to unhealthy food and beverage choices.
Food and beverage marketing to children
Healthy food and beverage choices start in childhood, and unfortunately children learn a lot about both through marketing.
Whenever a child turns on the television they are exposed to a variety of marketing messages. Did you know that before the age of five, most children are not able to tell the difference between an advertisement and a television show. Manufacturers and big brands realize how easily influenced children and youth can be, and invest a lot of money to create marketing messages they feel will influence a child’s dietary decisions.
If a child sees a marketing message for a particular beverage a child will, more than likely, ask their parents if they can have that particular beverage—healthy or not.
Ottawa Public Health is working hard to help parents and their children learn how to choose between healthy dietary choices and marketing ploys. With health-conscience information and resources, parents and children will be able to make healthier and more informed dietary choices.
What can parents do to help change the marketing trend?
Parents need to find out about products they are consuming and read food labels. Just because something says it is 100% natural does not mean it is made with natural ingredients. Eat fresh foods as much as possible, and when shopping for packaged goods, look for products that have reduced salt or sugar and no trans fats.
Parents can also help educate their children on what marketing means and help their children differentiate between learning something new and trying to be convinced to buy something.
Sure, it can be hard to say to stay away from junk food, but teaching moderation and offering alternative, healthier options is a step in the right direction.
As obesity rates continue to rise in children, it has become the mission of public health organizations to create stricter policies and regulations concerning the marketing of food and beverages to children and youth.
In Canada, the Federal government is currently working to introduce restrictions on the marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to children and youth. These regulations include improving the information found on food labels.
The province of Quebec already banned commercial advertisements specifically directed at children under the age of 13 since the 80s. Quebec is the highest consumer of fruits and vegetables and has the lowest obesity rates for children between the ages of six and eleven.
Want to find out more information on how marketing influences the dietary choices of children and youth, and what steps are being taken to change these practices? Please visit Ottawa Public Health online.
Disclaimer: This post was generously compensated by Ottawa Public Health to share this information.
Saw something on tv about this topic too, a lot more aware nowadays.
This is of course why certain firms have toys with their meals, so that kids want them. Recently whilst in Calgary I went with my daughter to a popular quick food restaurant and was really very surprised that my granddaughter wanted a book instead of a toy and after so much advertising was disgusted that the place didn’t have any books at all, just some silly little toy! That is certainly not what I was expecting and is very bad PR for the firm I find.
Marketing definitely influences a lot of random cravings. As an adult, I can admit I make bad choices by seeing certain advertisements. Children don’t understand all the facts and are influenced far more easily.
Us as parents need to also stand our ground and not cave in to the child wanting the junk, I see it many times the parent will buy the junk just to avoid a meltdown in the store
“The province of Quebec has already banned commercial advertisements specifically directed at children under the age of 13 since the 80s”
That is great! The rest of the country has a long way to go to catch up!
Marketing has a huge influence on what we buy and consume. Most food that is packaged isnt healthy. Getting children to help pick out healthy food and help with the preparation of the food helps the child to make good choices
How refreshing to see this post!! I am a huge advocate for choosing healthy, whole foods for my family.
I don’t always win, but I don’t go down without a good effort! My children are aware of marketing targeted towards children, but it is still a challenge for them not to give in sometimes.
I think we have to change the message by avoiding fast food restaurants or saving them for a special one time event. Take children to real restaurants so they can sample good food as in grocery stores.
Great article. It’s hard to overcome the influence of TV on the kids.
I absolutely remember how much I myself was impacted as a kid watching “magically delicious” commercials !!!
We as parents need to try and set good examples of avoiding junk food snacks and food but there are so many outside influences such as TV, friends, and all the stores so it can be a more difficult job than it used to be.
Kids so easy to influence and marketing using it!