Foods marketed to children are predominantly high in sugar and fat, and as such are inconsistent with national dietary recommendations. The purpose of my dissertation will be to examine the food advertising and marketing channels used to target children and adolescents and the impact of food advertising on children's eating behavior.
Issue of fairness: I believe like most parents and consumer protection groups that advertising directly to children is dangerous and unethical as it can be deceptive and manipulative. It also promotes consumerism and poor nutritional habits to a defenseless target audience .
To create awareness and promote stricter Regulations: In the UK, as compared to many other European nations, there are currently few policies or standards for food advertising and marketing aimed at children. For example, The Nordic countries are at the forefront of protecting children from the effects of advertising. Sweden has the strictest controls in Europe and in 1991 instituted a ban on television and radio advertising targeted at children under the age of 12. The Swedish government views advertising to children as morally and ethically unacceptable, since children have difficulty distinguishing between the purpose of advertising and other modes of communication. In Belgium, it is forbidden to broadcast commercials during children's programs as well as during the 5 minutes before and after them. (National Council of Better Business, 2003).So I believe that more research and analysis in this area is required in the UK to create more awareness of the importance of the issue at hand. This in turn would hopefully encourage the concerned authorities to introduce stricter laws to protect our children.
A Need to explore all channels of Marketing: When I examined the existing body of literature review on my chosen subject, I found that majority of the focus of the current and ongoing analysis of brand promotions to children is on television advertising. While the huge impact of television advertising on vulnerable children cannot be denied, there also needs to be equal focus on other increasingly popular ways of advertising like the internet, schools, video games, movies, kid's clubs etc. A good understanding of the above mentioned marketing techniques is essential to completely eradicate the corruption of children's minds.
It is estimated that in UK , the food industry spent in excess of 0.3 billion in 1999 promoting unhealthy food products.(Advertising Association Yearbook,2000). These are processed foods which contain high levels of fat and/or sugar and/or salt and include confectionery, crisps and savory snacks, soft drinks and other so-called 'fast' or pre-prepared 'convenience' foods. In July 2001 Sustain published TV Dinners, a report which examines the nature and extent of food advertising during children's TV programmes(Sustain,2001).The study shows that between 95% and 99% of the food advertising during children's programming is for fatty and/or sugary and/or salty foods. Fatty and