Beyond advertising: in-home promotion of "fast food"

Eagle, Lynne, and Brennan, Ross (2007) Beyond advertising: in-home promotion of "fast food". Young Consumers, 8 (4). pp. 278-288.

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Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to discuss the range of potential influences on children's food choices, while suggesting that recent restrictions on advertising of some foods may not be as effective as expected. It aims to use home-delivered food promotional materials to illustrate the types of promotional activity that are not covered by recent regulatory actions.

Design/methodology/approach – All food promotional leaflets and flyers delivered to households over a four-month period were analysed in terms of their overall content and whether healthy options were included in the content or in special promotional offers.

Findings – The study finds that 90 per cent of the material featured foods whose advertising would potentially be restricted if it were placed in media for which regulations were tightened in early 2007. Few included healthy options in menus – and none offered these as part of their special promotions.

Research limitations/implications – Material was collected from only one area of a large English city; however it is reasonable to assume that the type of material received is broadly representative of the material likely to be distributed across the UK and possibly other countries as well.

Practical implications – Increased restriction of advertising of some types of food products does not address myriad influences on children's food choices. If the restrictions fail to deliver the expected benefits, further restrictions are likely to follow, but concentrating on one potential factor in isolation while failing to consider the wide range of influences on food choices means that even tighter restrictions are unlikely to achieve the intended results. Policy makers should consider the wider environmental factors that may influence food choices, and the development of health promotion strategies that reflect a more holistic and integrated approach than is currently occurring.

Originality/value – There are few studies of the potential impact of factors other than advertising. The findings of this study suggest that lobbyists, policy makers and advertisers alike should take a more holistic view of potential influences on dietary choice.

Item ID: 20405
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1758-7212
Keywords: advertising, children, food products, fast foods, United Kingdom
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2013 06:11
FoR Codes: 15 COMMERCE, MANAGEMENT, TOURISM AND SERVICES > 1505 Marketing > 150502 Marketing Communications @ 100%
SEO Codes: 91 ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK > 9104 Management and Productivity > 910403 Marketing @ 100%
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