One of our founding beliefs is that looking at a company’s food and beverage offerings should not be the sole criteria for determining whether or not they make for an appropriate sponsor (that is how we end up with the rationale of “PepsiCo sells oats!”).
Just as — if not more — important is corporate behavior. One example: marketing to children. It’s an issue that is getting increasing global attention from public health experts and one we wish the Academy would address and take a stand on (i.e.: publish a position paper).
Yesterday, the Irish Heart Foundation launched a new “Stop Targeting Kids” campaign that explains why Big Food marketing to children is so troublesome.
Highlights (via The Irish Times):
* “Picture the scene. You’re sitting at home, having your breakfast. There is a knock on the front door. It’s a salesman, and he wants to talk to your kids. “No thanks,” you say, closing the door firmly. But he won’t go away. In fact, he spends the rest of the day standing outside your house, shouting at your kids. At first you think he’s crazy. Then you realise he’s just immoral – because this creep wants your kids to buy stuff that was designed to make them sick. This may sound wildly implausible, but it’s not at all. Children in Ireland now spend, on average, three hours a day online, where junk food companies peddle their wares all the time.”
* “The food industry are always going on about the personal responsibility of parents and children. While it’s true that everyone has a part to play in solving this problem, the food industry also bears some responsibility – at least, it should do. At the moment there is only the flimsiest voluntary self regulation around the marketing of junk food to kids. ”
* “This is what happens when an industry with no shame has far too much power over politicians. It’s time to take back some of that power.”