Raiding your cupboards like a vending machine? Big Food is feeding our snack addiction

USA Today  
Big Food is using our deepest human instincts against us to make their products more addictive than ever, and then maneuvering to exploit our efforts to regain control of our health. In the early days of COVID-19, manufacturers of cookies, crackers and chips saw sales jump nearly 30% as people loaded up on items they hadn’t had since childhood. And now, the companies aren’t about to let us go. Read the article

Groundswell of opposition to children’s junk food ads as code nears review

Stuff.co.nz 
Pressure is growing on the New Zealand Government to regulate marketing of unhealthy food and drinks that target children. A loose collection of researchers and health groups has formed to lobby the Government for firmer controls, starting with the Children’s and Young People’s Advertising Code. Introduced in 2017, the code is up for review next year, but the groups want to see the complaint process taken out of advertising industry hands. New Zealand had the second highest rate of childhood overweight in the OECD, with 39 per cent of children aged five to 19 either overweight or obese. Read more

Fresh calls for regulation of junk food marketing in Germany: ‘Voluntary commitments cannot work’

Food Navigator

Voluntary codes to limit the marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to children ‘cannot work’, according to the Federation of German Consumer Organisations. The association is calling for tougher action. The research found that existing voluntary commitments exclude important forms of marketing like packaging and digital exposure and offer numerous loopholes due to vague definitions. Read more

 

Differential exposure to, and potential impact of, unhealthy advertising to children by socio-economic and ethnic groups: a systematic review of the evidence

MDlinx . com
Researchers conducted this systematic review to explore the differential potential exposure and impact of unhealthy food advertising to children according to socio‐economic position and/or ethnicity. Unhealthy food advertisement is overwhelmingly exposed to children from minority and socio-economically deprived communities. In order to boost children’s diets and eliminate inequalities in dietary consumption, laws to limit unhealthy food advertising to children should be enforced. Read the article here

Demand for s’mores spiked in areas with most COVID-19 cases, the CEO of Hershey says — and the company tracked infection rates to decide its ad spend

Business Insider
As COVID-19 spread around the US, so did the demand for s’mores, according to The Hershey Company.  “This past year, we noticed that wherever COVID case counts were elevated, we were seeing increasing sales of s’mores ingredients,” Hershey CEO Michele Buck told CNBC.  The company said chocolate sales were up to 50% higher in locations where COVID infection rates spiked, CNBC reported. The Pennsylvania chocolate maker adjusted its digital marketing to pinpoint these areas, Buck said. Read more

FDA Urged to Stop Formula Companies from Selling Sugary Drinks as “Formula” to Toddlers 

Center for Science in the Public Interest
Advocates and researchers from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, UConn Rudd Center, and New York University write that Nestlé, Walmart, and Mead Johnson & Company (makers of the brands Gerber, Parent’s Choice, and Enfamil) violate FDA regulations for infant formula. Such beverages are also not recommended by health experts for toddlers. Read more

Is Obesity Policy in England Fit for Purpose? Analysis of Government Strategies and Policies, 1992–2020

The Milbank Quarterly 
A review of thirty years of proposed Government obesity policies in England has found few to be successful or to have led to a consistent reduction in obesity rates. One major finding is that policies largely make high demands on individual agency, meaning they rely on individuals to make behaviour changes rather than shaping external influences and are thus less likely to be effective or equitable. Read the study

Children’s Screen Time Has Soared in the Pandemic, Alarming Parents and Researchers

New York Times
Nearly a year into the coronavirus pandemic, parents across the country — and the world — are watching their children slide down an increasingly slippery path into an all-consuming digital life.“There will be a period of epic withdrawal,” warned one addiction specialist, once schools, activities and social life return to normal. Read the article

Why you need to eat fewer ultra-processed foods like frozen pizza and granola bars

The Globe and Mail 
A steady intake of ultra-processed foods has been linked to an increased risk of chronic health problems such as obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease. Now, findings from a large Italian study add to mounting evidence that ultra-processed foods should be limited. Added sugars in these foods, as well as the processing methods used to make them, may contribute to their harmful effects. Read the Globe and Mail article 

86% of teens exposed to junk food ads on social media

Medical XPress
Cancer Research UK researchers asked 3,394 11- 19-year-olds from across the UK where they had seen advertising that month for food and drink high in fat, sugar and salt with 86% responding that they had seen adverts for junk food on social media.  Read more
You can read the study here