Companies Target Minority Youth in Marketing Fast Food, Sugary Drinks, Snacks, and Candy
Filed in Research & Studies on August 31, 2015
A new study led by Jennifer Harris, an associate professor in residence at the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at the University of Connecticut, finds that food and beverage companies disproportionately target Black and Hispanic youths in their marketing efforts for fast food, candy, sugary drinks, and snack foods. In contrast, the companies are less likely to target Black and Hispanic youths in their marketing efforts for healthy foods, according to the report.
Researchers analyzed the advertising of 26 major restaurant, food, and beverage companies during 2013. All of the companies spent at least $100 million on advertising that year. The analysis looked at dollars spent on advertising on television shows with large audiences of Black and Hispanic youths. One key finding of the study was that Black youth viewed 70 percent more food-related TV advertising compared with their White peers. In addition, they saw almost twice as many TV ads for candy, soda and other sugary drinks, and snacks.
“Our analysis of the largest food, beverage, and restaurant corporations in the United States shows that these companies vary widely in their focus on advertising targeted to Black and Hispanic youth,” says Dr. Harris. “Unfortunately, the majority of brands targeted to youth of color are nutritionally poor products that can be harmful to their health.”
The report, Food Advertising Targeted to Hispanic and Black Youth: Contributing to Health Disparities, was funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It may be downloaded by clicking here.