abundance

Marketing & Advertising

"Is junk food what we really crave?"

Big Food spends close to $2 billion every year telling kids and teens what’s cool to eat through advertising, promotions, and sponsorships. Meanwhile, across the country, fast-food chains are crowding out grocery stores and supermarkets, narrowing the healthy food choices available.

Scary? It sure is, but together, we can work to curb this predatory marketing and stand up for real food.

We believe that marketing targeting to children and teenagers is a public health crisis. Watch our movies and dig into this page to understand why.

Descargar el guión de video en Español.

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Take Action

happymeal.com

Protect our kids and help shut down HappyMeal.com.

Join tens of thousands of people around the world calling on McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson to end the burger giant’s predatory marketing to our kids.

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Q & A

Question:

What is one of your favorite examples of a program working to encourage healthy eating, especially among kids and teens?

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Juliet

Communities across the country are finding innovative ways to encourage healthy eating. In particular, farm-to-school policies are gaining traction, with farm-to-school legislation in 35 states. Such programs connect K-12 schools with local farms that supply healthy, sustainable foods to school cafeterias. Not only do these programs support the health and well-being of kids, they play a role in educating communities, supporting local farmers, and strengthening the regional food economy.

Featured voice: Juliet Sims, Prevention Institute

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Question:

Food companies say that it is the family’s responsibility to determine what foods their kids eat. Is it really up to the parents?

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Juliet

Food companies put all the responsibility on parents to shield their kids from unhealthy foods—but when food marketers have access to children in schools, in stores, on television, and increasingly on the internet, parents have the odds stacked against them. Parents don’t decide which cereals to market to children or what image goes on the front of the cereal box—food companies do. One major study found that, at this rate, children won’t be fully protected from junk food ads until 2033. We can’t continue to allow generations of children to get sick while the food industry gets free reign.  Limiting the reach of junk food marketing helps shift the balance in the right direction. After all, parents can’t do it all alone.

 

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Question:

Last year, policy makers were talking about making some improvements to the voluntary marketing guidelines for food companies. What was the industry reaction and what’s happened with those policies?

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Juliet

In 2009, Congress commissioned an Interagency Working Group  (IWG)–comprised of the Federal Trade Commission, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Food and Drug Administration, and the United States Department of Agriculture—to draft a proposal laying out voluntary guidelines for foods marketed to kids. The proposed recommendations were released for comment last April, and today, this effort to safeguard kids’ health against harmful marketing practices has been effectively defeated. Food and beverage companies wasted absolutely no time in pushing back on these guidelines. They spent over $51 million lobbying in 2011, released a report claiming these guidelines would eliminate jobs, and issued white papers (falsely) claiming the guidelines violate the First Amendment. The IWG eventually bowed to industry pressure, and the guidelines were never released.

Featured voice: Juliet Sims, Prevention Institute

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Reports and Resources

Guión de Video: El Mito de Elegir

Descargar el guión de video para el nuevo Food MythBusters película aquí: PDF

Thumbnail Food MythBusters Screening Guide, Marketing Advertising

Food MythBusters Screening Guide | Myth of Choice: How Junk Food Marketers Target Our Kids

On September 25, 2013, the Food MythBusters launched its second animated movie that takes on the myth of personal choice and exposes the harmful impact of marketing to kids. Help celebrate Food Day and host a screening on October 24, 2013! You can help us spread the word! View the PDF.

RWJF Fast Food Ads on TV

Fast-Food TV Advertising Aimed At Kids

99% of all fast food ads targeting kids were placed by just two companies. Can you guess which ones? The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation conducted a study and put together this fantastic infographic to break down food marketing trends on TV and why industry self-regulation isn’t cutting it.

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From the Blog

AJAM 5-27-14

Junk Food Industry’s Shameful Targeting of Black and Latino Youth

Young people of color face steeper risks of diet-related illness – and a ton of niche marketing.

fed up challenge

Take the Fed UP Challenge: Go Sugar Free for 10 Days

We are facing the biggest public health crisis of our time and the future of our nation depends on us taking action in our homes, schools, communities and workplaces. Taking the Fed Up Challenge and going sugar free is the first step.

sodaSummit500

Soda Summit 2014: Winning Strategies to Reduce Soda-Related Diseases

June 4-5 in Washington D.C., the conference will bring together national and international experts, public health professionals and local, state and national policymakers to explore a comprehensive set of topics and strategies to reduce soda-related diseases.