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


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.


Nutrition guidelines Television advertising Voluntary restrictions Breakfast cereals 



We thank Ronald Cotterill, Rigoberto Lopez, and seminar attendees at the AAEA and EAAE Joint Conference “Food Environment: The Effects of Context on Food Choice” for helpful commentary and feedback with this paper. All errors are solely the responsibility of the authors. We also thank the Food Marketing Policy Center and the Zwick Center for Food and Resource Policy at the University of Connecticut for providing support for this article.


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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

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