Finding it an uphill battle to keep your kids from eating too much junk? Their electronic devices could be the culprits, and not because they’re spending too much time playing with them instead of getting outdoors.
Choice magazine has discovered that fast food companies are using mobile phone apps and social media to sneakily push their products to kids.
Evidence that junk food ads are part of the obesity problem in Australia has led the food industry to create voluntary codes to restrict the advertising of unhealthy foods directed primarily at children, but fast food companies are dodging the codes by “force-feeding junk food advertising to kids through mobile phone applications and social platforms such as YouTube.”
“Hungry Jack’s Shake and Win app, generates vouchers for free or discounted food when user shake their phone at any Hungry Jack’s store,” the magazine notes. “With one in four Australian children overweight or obese, you have to question whether this is a responsible practice.”
The problem is not limited to mobile phone applications and social media, with food companies also using community based sponsorships to push unhealthy foods to kids.
“Large food companies are mainly concerned with creating brand loyalty,” Choice adds. “Companies such as McDonald’s say they don’t advertise to children aged under 14, yet they do sponsor children’s sports such as Little Athletics, Hoop Time basketball and Swimming Queensland. KFC and Milo are sponsors of Cricket Australia, and Coca-Cola sponsors Bicycle Network Victoria, which has a program for teens.”
Fast food companies sponsoring sports undermines the healthy eating messages that governments and parents are trying to promote. It normalises the relationship between junk food and sport.”
And now healthy foods have decided to take a leaf out of the book of junk foods, by marketing products like carrots and apples just like packaged junk foods.