- Close to 40% of food and beverage ads viewed by children and teens are of snacks, according to University of Connecticut's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity researchers. Plus, there's an increase in snack social media advertising and moblie apps.
- Preschoolers (ages 2 to 5) viewed 582 snack ads on TV on average in 2014, up 18% from 2010. The biggest rise, however, was in adults: 793 ads in 2014, up 32% from 2010.
- Researchers compared the ads young people viewed in 2010 and 2014. Fruit ads increased up to 6 times and ads for nuts almost doubled, and still marketing for fruits and nuts made up about 5% of all snack ads.
"It’s hard to translate the number of advertisements to actual consumption, but if you just look at the imbalance (between healthy and unhealthy snacks) it would suggest that advertising is probably not increasing children's fruit and nut consumption," according to Jennifer L. Harris, director of marketing initiatives at the Rudd Center.
Also, savory snack marketing to black and Hispanic children rose 551% while yogurt advertising dropped 93% in 2014. Harris said this was irresponsible considering the obesity and diabetes rates in minority groups.
General Mills, which spent $315 million in 2014 on snack food advertising, "generally [doesn't] agree with Rudd definitions or analysis," nor does it market to children younger than 6, according to Bridget Christenson, corporate communications manager. Kellogg spokesperson Kris Charles said the company adheres to Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative and doesn't market food to children under 6.
This initiative focuses on "child-directed media" programming and not potential shows children could watch on separate channels. Harris and researchers want the definition to be more far-reaching.