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Who's Feeding the Kids Online? Digital Food Marketing and Children in Ireland

Creator:

Food, Eating Habits, Children, Marketing, Advertising, Unhealthy Foods, Sugar Content, Salt

Subject Keywords: Tatlow-Golden, M., Tracey, L. and Dolphin, L.
Set: Obesity
Type: Report
Region: Republic of Ireland
Description:

This Reoprt was prepared for the Irish Heart Foundation

Obesity in children and young people is a global health challenge. The widespread marketing of unhealthy foods (food and non-alcoholic drinks high in fat, sugar and salt, or HFSS) plays a causal role in unhealthy eating and obesity. Food and eating is typically presented as an issue of ‘choice’.

However, this disregards the fact that current obesogenic environments use many tactics to promote unhealthy foods, interfering with people’s ability to make good choices.

Who's Feeding the Kids Online?

Obesity in children and young people is a global health challenge. The widespread marketing of unhealthy foods (food and non-alcoholic drinks high in fat, sugar and salt, or HFSS) plays a causal role in unhealthy eating and obesity. Food and eating is typically presented as an issue of ‘choice’.

However, this disregards the fact that current obesogenic environments use many tactics to promote unhealthy foods, interfering with people’s ability to make good choices. Ireland restricts HFSS broadcast advertising to under-18s on TV and radio, but has not yet tackled regulation of digital marketing.  Children in Ireland are increasingly active on digital media, with most 9 to 16 year olds now going online via a smartphone. Digital media have fundamentally changed marketing, and evidence from marketers and digital platforms indicates that online methods increase the impact of marketing, including for unhealthy foods. Digital marketing can target children using sophisticated analytics, as opposed to broadcast TV advertising which can only rely on a scattergun effect. Whereas anyone can inspect ads that are shown on TV, the targeted nature of digital marketing means that parents and policymakers are unaware of who is feeding our kids online.

This study examined:

  1. Content appealing to children and young people on websites of top food and drink retail brands in Ireland
  2. Marketing techniques on Facebook Pages of food brands that have the highest reach among young teens, the first such study of which we are aware
  3. Parents’ awareness of digital food marketing to their children in an online, two-stage survey with digital marketing examples and open-ended response options.

Date:

16/06/2016

Rights: © Irish Heart Foundation
Suggested citation:

Food, Eating Habits, Children, Marketing, Advertising, Unhealthy Foods, Sugar Content, Salt. (2016) Who's Feeding the Kids Online? Digital Food Marketing and Children in Ireland [Online]. Available from: http://www.thehealthwell.info/node/1003587 [Accessed: 10th December 2018].

  

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