Document Detail

A menagerie of promotional characters: promoting food to children through food packaging.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  21906547     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
OBJECTIVE: To determine the extent to which (1) promotional characters are used on food packaging for healthful and less-healthful food and (2) different companies use this persuasive marketing strategy.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional supermarket audit of all food and beverages featuring promotional characters on the packaging.
SETTING: Three Australian supermarket chains.
VARIABLES MEASURED: Frequency of observed products, package size, nutritional composition.
ANALYSIS: Frequencies and bivariate analyses was conducted. Nutritional composition (healthful vs less healthful) was analyzed by character type and company type, that is, whether the company was signed to the Australian Food and Grocery Council Responsible Marketing to Children Initiative (RMCI) signatory.
RESULTS: Products featuring promotional characters on packaging (n = 352) were predominantly less-healthful food and beverages (70%). [corrected]. Nutritional composition varied significantly by character type, with 69% of products with sportspersons, celebrities, or movie tie-ins being healthful, compared with 38% of licensed and 16% [corrected] of company-owned characters. Only 13 of the 75 companies using characters on packaging were RMCI signatory.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS: Promotional characters are largely used on food packaging to promote less-healthful food to children. Most of these characters are company-owned characters that are not subject to any form of regulation in Australia. Further efforts to limit this form of marketing to children are required.
Lana Hebden; Lesley King; Bridget Kelly; Kathy Chapman; Christine Innes-Hughes
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of nutrition education and behavior     Volume:  43     ISSN:  1878-2620     ISO Abbreviation:  J Nutr Educ Behav     Publication Date:    2011 Sep-Oct
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2011-09-12     Completed Date:  2011-12-14     Revised Date:  2013-01-15    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101132622     Medline TA:  J Nutr Educ Behav     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  349-55     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2011 Society for Nutrition Education. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Prevention Research Collaboration, School of Public Health, The University of Sydney, Camperdown, New South Wales, Australia.
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MeSH Terms
Advertising as Topic / methods*
Cartoons as Topic
Cross-Sectional Studies
Food Packaging / methods*
Health Promotion
Nutritive Value
Erratum In:
J Nutr Educ Behav. 2012 Jan;44(1):95

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