Public Interest Lobbyists Tilting At Windmills

from Washington Post: A Washington consumer group held a press conference yesterday urging food marketers to voluntarily quit promoting junk food to children. Center for Science in the Public Interest, which regularly weighs in on nutrition issues, outlined voluntary guidelines calling for a complete halt to promoting soda, caffeinated drinks and sugary drinks; foods largely devoid of nutrients, fruits, vegetable and whole grains; foods high in fats, added sugars or salt; and large-portion products.
The advocacy group also asked food companies and television stations to stop advertising junk food on shows with more than a quarter of the audience under age 18 and to halt the use of toys, games, contests or other incentives to promote nutritionally poor foods. That would mean no more toys in kids’ meals at fast-food restaurants unless the meals were more healthful, the group said. It also urged food companies to limit cross-promotions with movies or television shows and to completely stop marketing unhealthful food in schools.
“Clearly, parents bear the primary responsibility for feeding their children a healthy diet,” said Margo G. Wootan, the group’s nutrition policy director. But, she said, “parents are fighting a losing battle against food marketers,” which have more than doubled their marketing spending in the past 10 years to $15 billion. Every day, children see about 58 commercial messages from television alone, and about half of those are for food products, the group said.
“By narrowly focusing on advertising and marketing, CSPI misses the point,” the Grocery Manufacturers of America said in a statement. “Effective solutions must incorporate sound nutrition, increased physical activity, consumer and parent education and community support.”

About David Burn

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. One of those tricky freedom of expression in the public domain issues.
    Family and community support of sound nutrition is obviously undermined by the entertaining messages sent by Nabisco etc., including ads, cartoons, product placement, and packaging. “Froot Loops and 4 ounces of milk is a good source of calcium.” The question is, how much do we enjoy being hoodwinked.
    The Grocery Manufacturers of America know as well as any parent that children make choices, and nutrition education is not nearly as powerful as their commercial images.