Junk Food

In April 2007, 'junk food' advertisements were banned during television programmes aimed at young children (BBC, 1st April 2007).The new legislation relates to foods that are high in fat, salt or sugar.From 1st January 2008, the restrictions will be extended to TV shows aimed at children up to 15 years, as well as adult programmes watched by a large number of children.

However, there are items in the news this week claiming that food manufacturers are still managing to market to children.A study by New Media Age has found that companies such as Hubba Bubba, Kinder and Haribo were targeting children by running cartoons and games on their websites (BBC, 18th July 2007).Whilst the companies are not breaking the law by using their websites in this way, they are coming under increasing criticism by anti-obesity groups.   

Some firms are responding to these kinds of criticisms before further legislation is introduced.

Previously criticised for extensive use of advertising to children by using a character called Tony the Tiger, Kellogg is making changes to its products to make them healthier.Its new recipes limit the level of calories, fat and sodium in its cereals (BBC, 14th June 2007).The Times 100 case study looking at Kellogg explains how its business strategy now goes far deeper than this.Its message of 'Get the Balance Right' links to its promotion of exercise as well as improvement to its product ingredients.


Junk food ad ban comes into force – BBC News, 1 April 2007

Fast food brands hit kids online – BBC News, 18 July 2007

Kellogg's 'to improve kids' food' – BBC News, 14 June 2007

The Times 100 Case Study  – Kellogg's

Audio and video news file:

BBC News Player – Junk food TV ad crackdown

Suggested Study Questions:

What are the benefits to Kellogg of creating a business strategy that offers a healthy lifestyle message?

How will limits on food advertising to children affect the food manufacturers?

To what extent might changes in the law affect the television broadcasting companies?

The above BBC video clip considers whether the food manufacturers are 'corporate villains'. To what extent do you think this is a suitable label?

And to those of you who were looking in the last brief for the promised answers from the questions in the news brief on Mission Statement (No 59), we're sorry that a technical problem prevented us placing the answers there.

For those who missed the brief, the question was:

Can you guess which companies have once had these mission statements?

“We will market the most appealing and widely worn casual clothing in the world. We will clothe the world.”

“Our vision is to be the world's best quick service restaurant experience. Being the best means providing outstanding quality, service, cleanliness, and value, so that we make every customer in every restaurant smile.”

Answers were:

Levi Strauss & Co