Interesting news for healthy food marketers- children have more control over some household purchases than their parents do.
That could explain why the food industry spends about $1.8 billion a year to market products towards adolescents.
Until now, there has been a lot of negative press around this topic because marketers have been accused 0f taking advantage of their influence on children, by marketing products known to be unhealthy. These efforts can have detrimental effects on kids by encouraging them to push their parents to buy junk food.
These advertisements are linked to causing unhealthy consumer behavior down the road. Children who are exposed to unhealthy food marketing could be drawn to unnecessary products later in life. Sugary drinks and processed foods are main causes of child obesity and young people (Especially in low income areas) are exposed to these products way too frequently.
Additional studies show us that when obese children are shown food logos, they appeared to have significantly less brain activity in regions associated with cognitive control than in children who are in a healthy weight range. Due to this neuroimaging evidence, it is safe to say that obese children are more vulnerable than healthy weight children to the effects of food marketing.
Children ages 2-5 are likely to see over 1,000 ads a year and teenagers see around 2,000. The sweet spot for marketers are kids under the age of six because of how impressionable that age range is. Brands that know what matters when it comes to food Smart marketers who also want to do good, will aim their marketing toward children but will also align the product’s health and nutrient benefits to parents, hopefully shifting kids desires to more healthy food options.
Once both kids and parents are sufficiently educated and on board – the brand will have created a strong relationship and could become a constant presence throughout childhood and even into adulthood (and what brand wouldn’t want that kind of relationship?).
Think about it, as an adult, you’re probably buying the same peanut butter brands or jarred pasta sauce that you grew up eating. You choose brands like Skippy Peanut butter and Cheerios because it’s been instilled into your mind that the respective brands are your favorites, and possibly the best choice for your family.
So not only is it a worthwhile decision to market to children in the present, but it’s also a valuable investment into the future.
So marketers, think about how you market to children. There is certainly money to be made, but there’s something even more important. The opportunity to build a much healthier generation. And there’s no way to put a price on that.