Food & Beverage Marketing to Kids

child with cereal

Did you know that there is a Bill before the House of Commons to prohibit direct food and beverage marketing to kids? This is an amendment of the Food and Drug Act called Bill S-228.

Why stop food and beverage marketing to kids?

  • marketing has been shown to influence what kids will want, demand and choose to eat
  • young kids may not be able to tell the difference between advertisements (ads) and unbiased programs
  • kids may not understand that ads are designed to sell products - they believe what they see

How are kids most exposed to food and beverage marketing?

  • television –kids can watch 10 food and beverage ads on TV every hour!
  • websites – kids see 25 million online food and beverage ads a year
  • restaurants – many restaurants use interactive promotions, celebrities and celebrity character recognition
  • grocery stores  attractive packaging is used to get kids’ attention

Who are food and beverage advertisements targeted at?

  • 83% of food and beverage company websites target kids under 12

What can I do now?

  • limit and supervise screen time
  • focus on eating a variety of whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and limit processed foods
  • involve kids in meal planning and preparing

Frequently Asked Questions

What is marketing?
Marketing refers to any form of message that is meant for the public and is designed to increase the purchase of goods and services.

Which food and beverages are being advertised to kids?
90% of products marketed to kids are low in nutrition, high in salt, fat and/or sugar.

What are “unhealthy” Foods according to Bill S-228?
The word unhealthy will be defined in the regulations. Health Canada is working to develop a definition based on the amount of saturated fat, sodium and sugar in the food item.

Which ages will be protected by Bill S-228?
The legislation will prohibit advertising directed at kids under the age of 13.

Will Bill S-228 prohibit sport sponsorships?
The Minister of Health recognizes that exercise and activity are key to kids’ health and well-being. An exemption to the legislation is planned for community level sports sponsorships.

Interested in reading more?
Check out the Heart & Stroke for more information.