Markets have hit an all time low. Now, instead of just advertising on tv and in the papers, they are now pushing junk food onto kids through the internet! With the rising rate of childhood obesity, parents are now going to have to restrict internet access to protect their kids overall health!
Junk food firms have been accused of using high-tech tactics, such as utilising the Internet, to push their products to children.
Consumer group Which? says companies have changed their approach following a ban on the showing of some TV commercials during children’s programmes.
Firms, from fast food chains to cereal makers, are pouring money into child-friendly websites and mobile phone competitions.
Criticised: Kellogg’s have come under fire for ‘pushing junk food on children’
And they continue to use sporting heroes, such as Wayne Rooney, and cartoon characters to boost sales of sugary drinks, burgers and fries.
Which? today highlights a tie-up between McDonald’s and the movie Kung-Fu Panda, which is expected to be a big hit this summer. It is also critical of a link between Burger King and the recent Indiana Jones blockbuster.
The report Food Fables – the second sitting said companies like Weetabix and Kentucky Fried Chicken had made ‘notable improvements’.
However many major food companies were taking advantage of lax regulations and continuing to use irresponsible methods to influence children’s food choices.
Kellogg’s was among those singled out in the report for encouraging people to text to receive a free ringtone as part of a competition promoting high sugar cereals.
Coca Cola had introduced a Fanta branded mobile phone game sent to all entrants of a competition.
Companies also used popular websites such as Bebo, Facebook, YouTube and Clubdtv to reach children.
Cadbury websites included links to child-focused games and competitions, while Mars and PepsiCo developed more sophisticated ‘cool’ brand sites that often linked promotions with popular social networking sites.
Sue Davies, chief policy adviser at Which?, said: ‘We’re not against treats and we’re not against marketing, but we are against irresponsible company practices and hollow company commitments.
‘You just have to walk around any supermarket to see the wealth of cartoon characters persuading children to pick the less healthy option.
‘Tackling the obesity problem demands action in many areas to make healthy choices easier.
‘It’s time all food companies started to fully play their part and focused their vast array of creative and persuasive marketing techniques on selling healthier foods to children instead of less healthy ones.’
The total number of obese children has doubled since 1982.
The Food & Drink Federation said manufacturers had introduced voluntary measures to control marketing (source).
Kids will always watch tv and play on the internet to some extent. However, parents do have the nutritional education to keep their kids healthy if they chose.