Channel 4 dispatches reveals new junk food marketing tricks

Author: Children's Food Trust

Date: JUN 2014

The Children's Food Trust shares its views on the newest ways junk food brands are marketing their products to children.

Channel 4's 'Dispatches: Tricks of the Junk Food Business' exposed the newest ways junk food brands are marketing their products to children.

The Children's Food Trust's Head of Research and Evaluation, Jo Nicholas, has urged parents not to underestimate the negative effects these methods can have. She said: “Parents have a really tough job encouraging their children to eat healthily. Our modern environment - with sophisticated marketing such as these 'advergames', changing technology, and the increasing amount of screen-time we have, means it's harder than ever when it comes to food.

We know that almost a quarter of children are starting school overweight or obese, and this rises to one in three by Year 6, so it's really important that children are protected from the new tactics that advertisers are using, and that parents are made aware of them.
In a Children's Food Trust survey, 72 per cent of parents told us they had bought things like chocolate, sweets, crisps and sugary drinks or cereals in the last month when they didn't intend to, after being pestered by their child which shows how powerful brand placement can be.

The rules brought in by Ofcom in 2007 to restrict junk food advertising during children's programmes had some success, but we argued that to really make a difference, Ofcom would have to enforce an advertising watershed, as it didn't apply to many shows we know families watch together, like X-Factor. It's clear that there are now even more factors to consider.

With more and more children having access to the internet and tablets, it's really important that the industry carefully assesses the influence these technologies can have on our young people if we're really serious about addressing our country's diet related problems and their crippling cost to the NHS.

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Last revised: 11 June 2017

Next review: 11 June 2020