Take a look at the sea of marketing messages next time you go down the cereal aisle at the grocery store… Dora the Explorer, Master Yoda, Fred Flintstone, Shrek, and other cartoon characters we see on T.V. are all present, each and every one of them claiming to be part of a nutritious breakfast.
The first major problem with this is that many of these types of items are not nutritious at all. In all actuality, there is more sugar in “breakfast” cereals than there is in most candy bars. This doesn’t stop food industry giants from claiming it to be healthy on T.V., though, and when coupled with your son or daughter’s favorite childhood hero, i.e. Tony the Tiger, it is no wonder we get that inevitable tug on the pant leg – begging to buy it.
But there is a bigger issue at play here. This problem exists everywhere… from cereal, to soft drinks, to chewing gum, snack foods and juices... all the way to dairy products like milk and yogurt, i.e. GoGurt and Danimals. In many cases, the branding is intended to appeal to your child.
The competition is simple… whoever succeeds at hooking the youngest, intellectually defenseless, and naive customer, wins.
Here lies another prime example of how the laws that govern the food industry are failing us. In my personal opinion, one of the most evil things on the planet is the marketing and advertising of products to children that are hazardous to health. Shopping and nutritional habits get cemented early on in life. As a result, our children begin down a path of metabolic disease, obesity, and negative psychology before they even have a chance to defend themselves – intellectually or otherwise.
I can’t think of a single child who wouldn’t want to buy from Ronald McDonald, the Burger “King” mascot, or the cute red headed girl for Wendy’s… and that’s the problem. Children are being targeted unfairly to turn a profit.
Thanks to a systematic political failure and special interests, our society now prioritizes private profit over public health. These problems will take a long time to rectify, but until more progress is made it is important that you are educated about food, where your food comes from, and how to make health conscious decisions when shopping. Look out for our next blog post titled, “Reading the Label,” and please, protect your children from being exploited unfairly by the bombardment of marketing and advertising directed at them. Be mindful of the messages that are being sent towards your children. Notice what is, not coincidentally, at their eye level, and do everything you can to instill healthy habits in your family’s lives at young ages.