Report calls for restricting marketing to kids in grocery stores, restaurants


TORONTO – A new report that looks at the prevalence of marketing to children inside grocery stores and restaurants suggests regulation is needed to help reduce unhealthy food temptations.

The report funded by Heart and Stroke audited displays at more than 2,000 restaurants and 800 stores across Canada and says children may be bombarded with messages that make junk food seem appealing.

Researchers found nearly 53 per cent of stores had “junk food power walls” at checkout aisles, which it says are prime areas to market to kids because products are placed within their reach.

The research says that placement encourages “pester power” — when children nag or pester their parents to make impulse purchases.

University of Waterloo associate professor Leia Minaker says designs and themes such as “magic, adventure and zoo animals” are also commonly seen in beverage and ice cream fridges.

The report says healthy checkout aisle policies and prohibiting toy giveaways with children’s meals could help reduce consumption of unhealthy food.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 21, 2023.


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