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Current Position:Home » News » Special Foods » Baby Food » Topic

Beverage companies still target kids with sugary drink ads

Zoom in font  Zoom out font Published: 2014-11-25  Authour: Food Stuff  Views: 141
Core Tip: Beverage companies spent $866 million to advertise sugary drinks in 2013, and children and teens remained key target audiences for that advertising, according to a new report released today by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.
Beverage companies spent $866 million to advertise sugary drinks in 2013, and children and teens remained key target audiences for that advertising, according to a new report released today by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. The report, “Sugary Drink FACTS 2014,” highlights some progress regarding beverage marketing to young people, but also shows that companies still have a long way to go to improve their marketing practices and the nutritional quality of their products to support young people’s health.

The report, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, measures total exposure to television advertising for sugary drinks by preschoolers (ages 2–5), children (ages 6–11), and teenagers (ages 12–17), as well as other forms of marketing they encounter. The new report updates a 2011 report on the same topic. Using the same methods as the last report, researchers examined changes in the nutritional content of sugar-sweetened drinks including sodas, fruit drinks, flavored waters, sports drinks, iced teas, as well as zero-calorie energy drinks and shots. They also analyzed marketing tactics for 23 companies that advertised these products, including amount spent to advertise in all media; child and teen exposure to advertising and brand appearances on TV and visits to beverage company websites; advertising on websites popular with children and teens; and marketing in newer media like mobile apps and social media. Researchers also examined changes in advertising of diet beverages, 100% juice, and water.

Since 2010, the researchers found that the overall level of marketing to youth on television and children’s websites has gone down. Companies also are providing more nutrition information. Children ages 6–11 viewed 39% fewer television ads for sugary drinks in 2013 than in 2010, and teenagers viewed 30% fewer ads. In addition, sugary drink advertising on websites primarily visited by youth declined by 72%. Coca-Cola Co., Dr Pepper Snapple Group, and PepsiCo now provide calories-per-serving on the front of most packages, and they enhanced nutrition information on their websites.

But not all companies are improving, and advertising is still overwhelmingly for sugary drinks. Preschoolers saw 39% more ads for PepsiCo’s sugary drinks in 2013 than in 2010, and children ages 6–11 saw 25% more. Red Bull increased television advertising to youth by 59%. In fact, one out of three television ads for sugary drinks viewed by teens, and one out of four such ads viewed by preschoolers and children, promoted energy drinks. Out of all advertising dollars, beverage companies continued to spend four times as much to advertise sugar-sweetened beverages as they spend on 100% juice and plain water; just 4% of their advertising spending was devoted to water.

The researchers concluded the report by recommending that companies stop marketing sugary drinks and energy drinks to children and teens and develop children’s drinks with less than 40 calories per serving and no artificial sweeteners.
 
keywords: Beverage companies
 
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