What Is The Influence Of Food Advertising On Children

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Introduction

It has been hypothesised that television food advertisements and branding are vital sensory factors that can influence food choice in children. In the UK, (Furnhal, 2003) determined that 49% of TV channels were food based and the vast majority of these focused on snacks. Many food industries target children given that they have persuasive power over the spending of their parents. Additionally as children age they will gain independent spending. Consequently food industries aim to enhance brand recognition during this influential early age in hopes that in the future it may also increase the number of loyal customers. This present essay aims to firstly highlight why television viewing increases the prevalence of high calorific
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This is due to the extra exposure to persuasive food advertisements. Therefore it isn’t surprising that similarly television advertising also has an influence on a child’s ‘food preference’. In this context ‘food preference’ is referred to as a child’s response when asked about the types of foods that they enjoy. In the introduction it was quoted that 49% of TV channels were food focused and a large proportion of these advertised unhealthy and energy dense products. (Halford, 2008) suggested that the children that watched more television had a higher exposure to ‘unhealthy’ food advertisements. This produced a higher likelihood of developing an obesogenic food preference, a behaviour conventionally found in children that are overweight. Children that watch more television additionally demonstrate an increased preference to branded foods, in comparison to the children that watch fewer hours (Boyland, 2011a). This idea was highlighted in the paper (Robinson, Borzekowski, 2007) where children clearly preferred the food and drink products that contained the McDonalds symbol on the packaging. Even whilst identical food products were …show more content…
It is useful to therefore understand how food industries market a product, to appreciate the power that television advertising has on the dietary choices of children (Hasting, 2003). For instance (Wicks, Warren & Fosu, 2009) found that visual effects and animations distract children from underlying information hidden in television adverts. Such as nutritional disclaimers indicating an unhealthy product high in sugar and salt. Animations designed for children are normally collated with cartoon-related characters which overtime becomes an essential part of brand recognition for a company. A study conducted by (Garretson & Niedrich, 2004) established that both children and adults displayed trust and respect for these mascots i.e. Ronald McDonald. Demonstrating the power of brand recognition to influence food preferences in both children and adults; particularly McDonald’s that are heavily criticized and well known for producing unhealthy food

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