Junk Food Ads Are Targeting Black People
(RightWing.org) – It’s common knowledge that marketing campaigns frequently target specific demographic groups. For example, cigarette companies infamously targeted children with their ads in years past; and the FDA recently ordered JUUL Labs to remove its vaping devices and four pods from US markets for playing a “disproportionate role in the rise in youth vaping.” Now junk food ads are in the news.
On November 14, the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Health announced the release of its annual update detailing food and beverage marketing efforts involving Black and Hispanic consumers. The center concluded that US-based food companies “disproportionately” target people of color with ad campaigns for “high-calorie, low-nutrient products” like candy, snacks, and junk food.
#NewStudy: Food and beverage companies are spending MILLIONS of dollars every year to disproportionately target Black and Hispanic consumers with unhealthy food marketing!
— UConn Rudd Center (@UConnRuddCenter) November 14, 2022
The Rudd study found that black youth and adults viewed from 9% to 21% more television ads for food and beverages than their white counterparts. It also determined that food companies increased their ad spending on Spanish-language TV stations as well.
The report didn’t draw any specific conclusions regarding the motivation for targeting these demographics with their ads for unhealthy food. However, it broadly noted that food and beverage companies have a fiduciary responsibility to their investors to work to increase profits by broadening their product appeal with “an increasingly diverse customer base.”
What do you think about the results of this study? Do Blacks and Hispanics prefer junk food, or are the ads designed to boost their interest in unhealthy products?
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