Junk food advertising on TV is still happening. Although we might think that advertisers have moved on from advertising on television, that’s not the case.
In 2009, food companies brought in responsible marketing codes; saying they would not advertise junk food to children. We’ve been checking out TV ads on Sydney television since 2006. Our most recent study found no reduction in unhealthy food and drink advertisements on television during children’s peak viewing times.
The study published in the Journal of Public Health found that children are exposed to an average of three unhealthy food advertisements every hour that they watch TV during peak periods. This figure remains unchanged since Cancer Council NSW and University of Sydney conducted the same analysis in 2011.
Unhealthy food made up 44 per cent of food advertisements, with 1 in 5 for fast food. McDonald’s dominated the fast food category with 47% of fast food advertisements, followed by KFC (26%) and Hungry Jack’s (16%).
This study shows voluntary codes fail to reduce children’s exposure to junk food marketing on TV.