Ever notice how many food commercials play during Saturday morning cartoons? Generally, these commercials promote the latest packaged snack cake, chip, sugary cereal, or sugary beverage. Come on, when was the last time there was a commercial with dancing fruits and vegetables besides the Fruit of the Loom commercials?
So? What’s the big deal with Saturday cartoon food commercials? Believe it or not, this kind of aggressive, targeted marketing to children contributes to the childhood obesity epidemic. It’s not so much the actual advertisement that’s the problem, but the types of foods being advertised that’s the problem. Most of these foods contain bad ingredients like high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, and/or artificial colors, and they are advertised…over and over again.
Big food companies spend a large amount of money, $156 million dollars per YEAR, marketing their latest food products (or, shall we say concoctions?) directly to children. A study by Yale’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity found that the least healthy cereals are the ones most marketed! Lucky Charms and Froot Loops contain artificial colors, and are two of the most marketed cereals on TV and the internet. Check out the real transformation in one kid’s life after he booted artificial colors! Frosted Flakes, also highly marketed on TV and internet, contains high fructose corn syrup, which is NOT natural, and has been linked to obesity.
Artificially colored, bright cereal — not good for a healthy morning start.
Creative Design is a better use for it.
When inundated with bright colors and slogans like “They’re grreat!” children are easily influenced in their food choices. They do not learn about real food with good ingredients versus processed foods with bad ingredients. Instead, they beg to buy the latest unhealthy cereal because their favorite character is on the box, or because the commercial was “really cool!” Usually, with enough whining in the cereal aisle, kids get what they want.
What kid wouldn’t beg for the cereal with a Mickey Mouse toy inside?
So wait, who are the high-fructose containing cereals REALLY “grrreat” for? They’re certainly not great for children’s health.
Advertising unhealthy foods has become such a problem that Michelle Obama, as part of her anti-obesity campaign, asked large food companies to make healthier foods and reduce the marketing of unhealthy foods to children. In fact, she called for increased marketing of healthy foods.
Will marketing healthier foods help? Is advertising even a problem?
“Hungry” to know more? Sites Earth Fare visited for this post:
(1) http://tinyurl.com/yek72wv – Cereal f.a.c.t.s. (Food Advertising to Children and Teens Score
(2) http://tinyurl.com/y8ca7cp – “Michelle Obama talks anti-obesity to food giants” (AP)
(3) http://tinyurl.com/6ha84w – “Food Marketing and Childhood Obesity — A Matter of Policy” (New England Journal of Medicine)
(4) http://tinyurl.com/yll3zwt – “U-M Researcher Says Preschoolers Understand the Power of Advertising” (University of Michigan)
(5) http://tinyurl.com/yat8ghq – “Food Marketing to Children and Youth: Threat or Opportunity?” (IOM)