Marketing of Food and Beverages

Are you really making your own food and beverage choices? Marketing is all around you whether it is on television or social media, or in schools, sports arenas, stores, and more. Really… it’s everywhere! Companies use marketing to try and sell you their products, including food and beverages that are bad for your health. One researcher found that over one year, teens viewed over 2.5 million food and beverage ads on their favourite website. Companies make sure that you see their ads everywhere, from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep. This includes:

  • Food and beverage packaging and labelling.
  • The use of mascots or characters to promote products.
  • Celebrity product endorsements.
  • Where companies place the product and displays, sponsoring sports teams and programs.
  • Advertising products on popular websites, in movies, and in video games.
  • Contests and free giveaways.
  • Text messaging.
  • School fundraisers.

Companies try to sell you products by promoting it various ways, sometimes using misleading claims that feed you false information. This creates an incorrect understanding of their product.

It wouldn’t be so bad if marketing didn’t work… but it does. If it didn’t, companies would not spend millions of dollars every year to try and sell you their products. Consider that as much as 90% of food and beverage ads on television are high in salt, fat, or sugar, which can all have negative impacts on your health. Most food and beverage companies don’t have your best interest in mind.

Reduce your exposure to marketing

Let’s make the industry pick on someone its own age. Here are some strategies you can use to limit your exposure to marketing:

Follow the recommendations from the new Canada’s Food Guide and use food labels when selecting foods and drinks to make informed nutrition choices.

Start questioning your purchases:

  • Why do you want to purchase a specific food or beverage? (Is it cool, is it healthy, does it have nutrition benefits, can it improve your mood?)
  • Where did you get that idea? (Did you see an ad, did an influencer promote that product, was it promoted by a celebrity, was there a message on the product itself?)

Learn how to stop companies from targeting you with their ads:

  • Learn how companies track you when you browse the web and protect your privacy.
  • Limit the amount of personal information that you share online to prevent companies from sending you targeted ads.

Limit your exposure to marketing:

  • Limit how much time you spend in front of a screen (television, cellphones, ipads, videogames, and more)
  • Download software that can limit the amount of ads and pop-ups that you see

Learn More

  • Canada’s Food Guide: Check out Canada’s Food Guide to learn more about marketing and how to reduce your exposure. 

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