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Food & Beverage Marketing to Children in the Digital Age

An issue brief about new media marketing

Food & Beverages

Food and beverage companies are pioneering the use of digital media to market their products to children and adolescents.

Until recently, television has been the focus of researchers and advocates exploring the affect of food and beverage marketing on the nation’s childhood obesity crisis. The time has come to expand that focus to the broader digital marketing environment—including mobile phones and online videos, games, social networks, and virtual worlds—in which these companies are achieving unprecedented levels of engagement and intimacy with young people.

To inspire this work, we partnered with Berkeley Media Studies Group and the Center for Digital Democracy to commission issue briefs on the implications of food marketing to youth from leading experts on neurological development, the new media marketing environment, and the current regulatory landscape.

In addition, we and the Center for Digital Democracy released an in-depth report detailing new digital marketing tactics now being used by fast food, snack food, and soft drink companies to target children and adolescents. These resources are designed to help policymakers, scholars, health professionals, industry leaders, and consumer advocates develop and refine safeguards for protecting young people.