Journal of Consumer Policy

, Volume 37, Issue 4, pp 507–525 | Cite as

An Evaluation of Government and Industry Proposed Restrictions on Television Advertising of Breakfast Cereals to Children

Original Paper

Abstract

In the United States, both industry and the federal government have worked to establish voluntary guidelines for how firms market food to children and to establish a threshold for the nutritional quality of foods marketed to children. The authors evaluate three US guidelines that deal with television advertising of breakfast cereals, which is both heavily advertised and a common meal item for children. They find that the majority of cereals advertised primarily to children from 2006 to 2008 do not meet any of the current and proposed self-regulatory nutrition guidelines, and that this is generally due to excessive sugar content. Further, children and adolescents are exposed to more advertising for products that do not meet the nutritional guidelines. We evaluate the extent to which each of the guidelines impacts advertising of cereals that are most viewed by children and purchased by households with children. The results provide insight for policy makers concerned with limiting the extent to which children see television advertising and ultimately consume unhealthy breakfast cereals.

Keywords

Nutrition guidelines Television advertising Voluntary restrictions Breakfast cereals 

References

  1. Adams, J., Tyrrell, R., Adamson, A. J., & White, M. (2012). Effect of restrictions on television food advertising to children on exposure to advertisements for ‘less healthy’ foods: Repeat cross-sectional study. PlosOne, 7(2), e31578, 1–6.Google Scholar
  2. Andreyeva, T., Kelly, I. R., & Harris, J. L. (2011). Exposure to food advertising on television: Associations with children’s fast food and soft drink consumption and obesity. Economics and Human Biology, 9, 221–233.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Beales III, J. H., & Kulick, R. (2013). Does advertising on television cause childhood obesity? A longitudinal analysis. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing. Available online at: http://www.journals.marketingpower.com/doi/abs/10.1509/jppm.11.051
  4. Better Business Bureau. (2010). The children’s food and beverage advertising initiative in action: A report on compliance and implementation during 2009.Google Scholar
  5. Better Business Bureau (2011). Re: Interagency Working Group on Food marketed to children: FTC project No. P094513. General comments and comments on the proposed nutrition principles and marketing definitions.Google Scholar
  6. Cairns, G., Angus, K., & Hastings, G. (2009). The extent, nature and effects of food promotion to children: A review of the evidence to December 2008. Institute for Social Marketing, University of Stirling & The Open University, United Kingdom, Prepared for the World Health Organization.Google Scholar
  7. Castetbon, K., Harris, J. L., & Schwartz, M. B. (2012). Purchases of ready-to-eat cereals vary across us household scoiodemographic categories according to nutritional value and advertising targets. Public Health Nutrition, 15(8), 1456–1465.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Clark, C., & Crockett, S. J. (2008). To the editor. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 108(10), 1618–1619.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Desrochers, D. M., & Holt, D. J. (2007). Children’s exposure to television advertising: Implications for childhood obesity. Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, 26(2), 182–201.Google Scholar
  10. Federal Trade Commission. (2008). Marketing food to children and adolescents: A review of industry expenditures, activities, and to self-regulation. A report to Congress.Google Scholar
  11. Frary, C. D., Johnson, R. K., & Wang, M. Q. (2004). Children and adolescents’ choices of foods and beverages high in added sugars are associated with intakes of key nutrients and food groups. Journal of Adolescent Health, 34, 56–63.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Friestad, M., & Wright, P. (2005). The next generation: Research for twenty-first-century public policy on children and advertising. Journal of Public Policy and Marketing, 24(2), 183–185.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Harris, J. L., Schwartz, M. B., Ustjanauskas, A., Ohri-Vachaspati, P., & Brownell, K. D. (2010). Effects of serving high-sugar cereal on children’s breakfast-eating behavior. Pediatrics, 127(1), 71–76.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Harris J. L., Schwartz, M. B., Brownell, K. D., Sarda, V., Dembek, C., Munsell, C., Shin, C., Ustjanauskas, A., & Weinberg, M. (2012). Cereal FACTS 2012: limited progress in the nutrition quality and marketing of children’s cereals. Yale University, Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.Google Scholar
  15. Harris J. L., Schwartz, M. B., Brownell, K. D., Sarda, V., Weinberg, M., Speers, S., Thompson, J., Ustjanauskas, A., Cheyne, A., Bukofzer, E., Dorfman, L., & Byrnes-Enoch, H. (2009). Cereal FACTS: Evaluating the nutrition quality and marketing of children’s cereals. Yale University, Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.Google Scholar
  16. Hastings, G., McDermott, L., Angus, K., Stead, M., & Thomson, S. (2006). The extent, nature and effects of food promotion to children: A review of the evidence. Technical Paper Prepared for the World Health Organization.Google Scholar
  17. Hawkes, C., Lobstein, T., & For the Polmark Consortium. (2011). Regulating the commercial promotion of food to children: a survey of actions worldwide. International Journal of Pediatric Obesity, 6, 83–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Holt, D. J., Ippolito, P. M., Desrochers, D. M., & Kelly, C. R. (2007). Children’s exposure to TV advertising in 1977 and 2004: Information for the obesity debate. Federal Trade Commission Bureau of Economics Staff Report.Google Scholar
  19. Huang, R., & Yang, M. (2013). Buy what is advertised on television? Evidence from bans on child-directed food advertising. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing. Available online at: http://www.journals.marketingpower.com/doi/abs/10.1509/jppm.11.114
  20. Institute of Medicine. (2006). Food marketing to children and youth: Threat or opportunity? Washington, DC: National Academies Press.Google Scholar
  21. Interagency Working Group on Food Marketed to Children. (2011). Preliminary proposed nutrition principles to guide industry self-regulatory efforts, request for comments.Google Scholar
  22. Jargon, J. (2011). Success is only so sweet in remaking cereals. Wall Street Journal, 11, B1.Google Scholar
  23. Kunkel, D., Wilcox, B. L., Cantor, J., Palmer, E., Linn, S., & Dowrick, P. (2004). Psychological issues in the increasing commercialization of childhood. Report of the APA Task Force on Advertising and Children. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  24. Morgan, K. J., Zabik, M. E., & Leveille, G. A. (1981). The role of breakfast in nutrient intake of 5- to 12-year-old children. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 34, 1418–1427.Google Scholar
  25. Nicklas, T. A., O’Neil, C., & Myers, L. (2004). The importance of breakfast consumption to nutrition of children, adolescents, and young adults. Nutrition Today, 39, 30–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Oates, C., Blades, M., & Gunter, B. (2001). Children and television advertising: When do they understand persuasive intent? Journal of Consumer Behaviour, 1(3), 238–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Oates, C., Blades, M., & Gunter, B. (2003). Editorial: Marketing to children. Journal of Marketing Management, 19, 401–409.Google Scholar
  28. Powell, L. M., Schermbeck, R. M., Szczypka, G., Chaloupka, F. J., & Braunschweig, C. L. (2011). Trends in the nutritional content of television food advertisements seen by children in the United States. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, Published online August 1, 2011.Google Scholar
  29. Schwartz, M. B., Vartanian, L. R., Wharton, C. M., & Brownell, K. D. (2008). Examining the nutritional quality of breakfast cereals marketed to children. Journal of the American Dietetic Association, 108(4), 702–705.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Schwartz, M. B., Ross, C., Harris, J. L., Jernigan, D. H., Siegel, M., Ostroff, J., et al. (2010). Breakfast cereal industry pledges to self-regulate advertising to youth: Will they improve the marketing landscape? Journal of Public Health Policy, 31(1), 59–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Smith, A. P. (1999). Breakfast cereal consumption and subjective reports of health. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition, 50, 445–449.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service. (2010). USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 23. Nutrient Data Laboratory Home Page, http://www.ars.usda.gov/ba/bhnrc/ndl.
  33. U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee (2012). Financial Services and General Government appropriations for 2013: Hearings before a subcommittee of the committee on appropriations of the House of Representatives. 112th Congress, 2.Google Scholar
  34. Vladeck, D. C. (2011). Prepared statement of the Federal Trade Commission on the interagency working group on food marketed to children before the house energy and commerce committee subcommittee on commerce, manufacturing, and trade and the subcommittee on health United States House of Representatives. Washington, DC, October 12, 2011.Google Scholar
  35. Warren, R., Wicks, R. H., LeBlanc Wics, J., Fosu, I., & Chung, D. (2008). Food and beverage advertising on U.S. television: A comparison of child-targeted versus general audience commercials. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 52(2), 231–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Wootan, M. G., Vickroy, L., & Pokress, B. H. (2011). Putting nutrition into nutrition standards for marketing to kids: How marketed foods measure up to the interagency working group’s proposed nutrition principles for food marketed to children. Center for science in the public interest.Google Scholar
  37. Zywicki, T. J., Holt, D., & Ohlhausen, M. (2004). Obesity and advertising policy. George Mason University Law Review, 12(4), 979–1011.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joshua P. Berning
    • 1
  • Rui Huang
    • 2
  • Adam Rabinowitz
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Agricultural and Applied EconomicsUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural and Resource EconomicsUniversity of ConnecticutStorrsUSA

Personalised recommendations