According to the reports given by the Federal Trade Commission i.e. FTC, food-and-beverage marketers have made modest nutritional improvements in their advertising targeted to youngsters but have also increased in spending on new-media campaigns.
As per the reports, the total spending on food marketing to youth in 2009 was dropped at 19.5% to $1.79 billion from $2.1 billion in 2006 and even spending on child-targeted television ads also fell to 19.5%. But despite these changes, the marketers are focusing more on new-media marketing strategies such as online and mobile tools to reach kids and these new marketing strategies might be even more effective than traditional television-based methods and their ubiquity may perhaps further fuel child-driven requests for certain foods.
As per the consumer research submitted by the reporting companies, pester power phenomenon works as the child-directed marketing and promotional activities drive children’s food requests. Research data from some companies also say that, packaging is a critical catch for getting a child’s attention and as per the survey, about 75% of parents bought a food product for the first time after their child asked for it.
According to the report, SpongeBob SquarePants and movies like Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs was some major contributors in promoting frozen desserts and candy among other foods in 2009.
The report says that, greater awareness of the dangers of the obesity epidemic and the indirect ways that media and marketers spread unhealthy eating habits, is putting pressure on the food and beverages industry. Due to which, in June, Walt Disney Co. announced that it would ban all junk food advertising from its TV channels, websites and radio programs that cater to young children and would adopt nutritional guidelines for advertisers by 2015. The FTC report also acknowledges companies for participating in the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, which is a self-regulation program run by the Council of Better Business Bureaus that is implementing nutritional criteria for ads. The most recent members to the initiative are Nestlé USA, the Dannon Co., Post Foods and Sara Lee Corp.
The report also found some small improvements in the nutritional value of the foods that are marketed to kids. Fast food marketed to youngsters also slimmed down with less calories, sodium, sugar and saturated fat in 2009 than in ’06. The report also found that kids and teens are choosing to eat healthier foods and increasing their daily consumption of nutrients like calcium than they were 10 years ago.