Food Marketing

Food, beverage and restaurant companies spend almost $14 billion per year on advertising in the United States[1]. More than 80% of this 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, food companies target 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 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 FACTS research reports provide a comprehensive review of the 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, sugary 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 marketing in communities, schools and online.

Learn More

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 studies have shown and what can be done to decrease unhealthy food marketing to children.

View the Handout