The University of Connecticut Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity has issued a report claiming that food companies “disproportionately target their TV advertising for fast food, candy, sugary drink and snack brands to black and Hispanic consumers.” Focusing on restaurant, food and beverage companies that spent at least $100 million on advertising in 2013 as well as participants in the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative, the report reviews the number of advertisements for fast food, sugar-sweetened beverages, snack foods, dairy products, 100-percent juice, water, fruits and vegetables that appeared on “Spanish-language TV and black-targeted TV programming.” The authors also used syndicated market research data from Nielsen to compile media spending by brand and product, in addition to estimating “exposure to TV advertising by black, Hispanic, and all children and adolescents in 2013.”
In particular, the report notes that 26 companies spent $675 million in food-related advertising on Spanish-language TV and $161 million on black-targeted TV. Of these companies, fast-food and other restaurants allegedly spent “the most on advertising in targeted media, totaling $244 million in Spanish-language TV and $61 million in black-targeted TV.” According to Rudd Center, the companies under review spent only $10 million to market yogurt and 100-percent juice on Spanish-language TV and only $2 million to market similar products on black-targeted TV.
“Our analysis of the largest food, beverage and restaurant corporations in the United States shows that these companies vary widely in their focus on advertising targeted to black and Hispanic youth. Unfortunately, the majority of brands targeted to youth of color are nutritionally poor products that can be harmful to their health,” said Rudd Center’s Director of Marketing Initiatives Jennifer Harris. See Rudd Center Press Release, August 14, 2015.