Food Marketing

Food, beverage and restaurant companies spend almost $14 billion per year on food advertisements in the United States[1]. More than 80% of this food advertising promotes fast food, sugary drinks, candy, and unhealthy snacks, dwarfing the entire $1 billion budget for all chronic disease prevention and health promotion at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention[2]. Furthermore, these food companies often engage in "targeted marketing" to reach children, teens and communities of color with marketing for their least healthy products.

Food marketing negatively affects children’s and teens’ diets and health. It increases calories consumed, preferences for unhealthy product categories, and perceptions of product healthfulness. Rudd Center research analyzes food company marketing tactics, food facts, and informs policy efforts to reduce unhealthy food marketing affecting youth and their families.

[1]Rudd Center 2017 analysis of Nielsen data
[2]CDC, 2017

FACTS Reports

A series of Rudd Center Food FACTS research reports provide a comprehensive review of the targeted marketing techniques and nutritional quality of food and beverages targeted to children, teens and parents – including separate reports on children's foods, cereal, fast food advertisements, sugary drinks vs. healthy drinks, snacks, and baby and toddler food.

The full reports, along with resources for advocates, researchers, parents and the media can be accessed by clicking the link below.

Access the Reports

Videos & Presentations

These presentations and videos are a resource for advocates to spread the word about unhealthy food and beverage marketing. We hope they will inspire collective action to make positive changes that improve health and limit unhealthy food and beverage targeted marketing in communities, schools and online.

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Unhealthy Food & Beverage Marketing: The Basics

The overwhelmingly unhealthy food-marketing environment that surrounds young people is a significant contributor to the dramatic increase in childhood obesity. This handout explains what food marketing and food advertising studies have shown and what can be done to decrease unhealthy food marketing to children.

View the Handout