Why oh why? Why don't our kids come bursting in the door asking for low fat milk and home-made granola bars? OK, let's start with that question.
Of the roughly $110 billion a year Americans spend buying fast food*, it's estimated that close to a third of this is purchased by and for children and teenagers. Not that surprisingly, teens ordered more fast food than any other age group during non-meal times after school and in the evening. While most fast food restaurants have begun touting their "healthy choices" for children, it's largely a veneer over the ugly fact that they're still selling most kids very fatty, salty, high calorie junk food. According to the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity (Yale University), Just 12 of 3,039 possible kids' meal combinations met nutrition criteria for preschoolers; 15 met nutrition criteria for older children. Digest THAT for a second.
Guess how much is spent marketing and advertising soda and fast food to children? Over 4 mill..er, Billion dollars, also reported by the Rudd Center. So, what can a mom or dad, or teenager do... what should we expect or insist on? I mean, wouldn't it be cool if you could get a Thomas the Train toy with your organic strawberries, Iron Man stickers with a bowl of whole wheat noodles, and Justin Beiber's signature on roller blades? Wouldn't it be cool if California avocados and Florida oranges were subsidized the way the stuff that makes high-fructose corn syrup is, and all the fast food joints were spending millions trying to get your kids to eat them?
But they don't.
- McDonald's 13 websites got 365,000 unique child visitors and 294,000 unique teen visitors on average each month in 2009.**
People, especially politicians like to complain about "the Government" creating a "Nanny State" to oversee what our children eat. I'd like to see kids come home from first grade or 4th grade and say hey Mom hey Dad "Spiderman came to our school today and showed us how to make roasted sweet potato" But I know, the minute they turn on the computer, the TV, or skip down the supermarket aisle, it's not braised broccoli Big Food will be pushing.
So who's your nanny now?
For more marketing facts/insights, go to http://fastfoodmarketing.org/media/FastFoodFACTS_MarketingRankings.pdf