December 18, 2011
Report shows how junk food makers target children
We’ve released a
new report which reveals the tactics used by junk
food manufacturers to plug their products to children while they’re
To see these tactics at work, take a look at our fictional
product: Lard Bar.
Junk food manufacturers are preying on children and targeting them with fun and games
Working with the Children’s
Food Campaign our report -
The 21st century gingerbread house: How companies are marketing
junk food to children online – assesses how brands
bombard kids online in a bid to push products that
are high in fat, salt and sugar.
The report was put together
as part of our Food4Thought campaign. All of the products featured
in our report are outlawed from advertising during
children’s television programmes.
more salt than a packet of crisps
1 pack of Cadbury's buttons
more fat than a hamburger
1 bowl of Sugar Puffs
more sugar than a ring doughnut
Nesquik milkshake powder
adds 3 teaspoons of sugar to a glass
But due to a
loophole in the regulations, companies are allowed
to promote them freely on the internet.
What we want
We are demanding
regulations across all forms of media to protect
children and their future health. Help us convince the government
that tighter regulation is needed by using our template to email
Jeremy Hunt the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and
Wolves in sheeps clothing
Some of the tactics used by
junk food manufacturers include bespoke websites
which appeal to children, free games, gifts and downloads and the
use of fun characters. Many companies also use social networking
sites like Facebook as a way to encourage children to share the
sites with their friends.
Some websites say that they
are age restricted but it’s easy to bypass this by
entering a different age or date of birth.
Our Policy Manager,
Mubeen Bhutta said:
“Like wolves in sheep’s
clothing, junk food manufacturers are preying on children and
targeting them with fun and games they know will hold their
attention. Regulation protects our children from these cynical
marketing tactics while they’re watching their favourite children’s
TV programmes but there is no protection when they’re online.
“With around a third of
children classified as overweight or obese today it’s crucial that
the UK Government takes action."
We know that in the UK,
children’s diets tend to contain too much fat, salt and sugar and
this could have serious implications for future levels of heart
disease and other life-threatening illnesses.
More about the junk food
Cheestrings are described as ‘ideal lunchbox snacks’ yet just
one Cheestring contains more salt than a typical pack of
ready salted crisps. Children visiting the site
are personally addressed by Mr.Strings and a
selection of games and videos are available for kids to choose
from. Children don’t need to state their age to enter the website.
pack of Cadbury’s milk chocolate buttons contains twice as
much saturated fat as a typical hamburger. Fun
characters are featured across the website and there is an area
dedicated to games, puzzles and activities. Users are asked to show
they’re over 18 but the site can easily be entered by anyone
entering a false year of birth.