New Research: Food Industry Self-Regulations For Marketing to Children Are Not Working
In 2008, many of the nation’s major food companies formed the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI) in an effort to stave off government regulation. The CFBAI was supposed to improve the food environment for children by having companies adopt voluntary—and self-defined—guidelines for marketing food and beverages to children. We, and many other advocates, were understandably skeptical that self-regulation would end the barrage of junk food marketing aimed at children. Two recent studies demonstrate that these fears where well founded.
In December, research released by Children Now (pdf) conclusively demonstrated that the food industry’s self-regulation efforts have failed to significantly improve the nutritional quality of foods marketed to children. And a new study by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity (pdf) finds that in-store promotions aimed at children – such as the use of licensed characters on packaging – are increasing dramatically. And the nutritional quality of the items marketed through these cross-promotions actually declined over the course of the three-year study.
Is there anyone not on a food company payroll who honestly believes the food industry will shape up on its own?