Report calls for restricting marketing to kids in grocery stores, restaurants
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 said that placement encourages "pester power" -- when children nag or pester their parents to make impulse purchases.
"Parenting is hard enough without having to deal with environments that are explicitly designed to get our kids pestering us for junk food that's not supportive of their health," said Leia Minaker, the author of the report and an associate professor at the University of Waterloo.
"We're set up to fail by the stores and the restaurants that we go into," Minaker said.
"It's really hard to make healthy choices for your kids in this context."
Designs and themes such as "magic, adventure and zoo animals" are also commonly seen in beverage and ice cream fridges, Minaker said.
The report comes as Bill C-252 for "prohibition of food and beverage marketing directed at children" is under consideration by the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health.
"Given the high proportion of child-directed marketing observed in both stores and restaurants in this Canadian research, it's clear that policies aimed to restrict marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to kids -- something long promised by the federal government -- should include point-of-sale locations," said Doug Roth, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation in a news release.
Stores can help by creating "healthy checkout policies," where checkout aisles wouldn't feature junk food and sugary drinks, the report said.
Prohibiting toy giveaways with unhealthy children's meals in restaurants could also help reduce consumption of unhealthy food, it said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 21, 2023.
Canadian Press health coverage receives support through a partnership with the Canadian Medical Association. CP is solely responsible for this content.
MORE Business News
opinion | Is it a good time to buy a new vehicle?
If you're like many would-be vehicle shoppers, you may be wondering when prices will finally drop. The good news is that the vehicle market seems to be finally stabilizing, says personal finance contributor Christopher Liew.
opinion | How to get the most out of your grocery rebate
Personal finance contributor Christoper Liew shares the latest information about who’s eligible for the grocery rebate, when they can expect their payments, and some helpful tips on making the most of your grocery rebate.
opinion | Dos and don'ts of money while travelling
As a former financial advisor, I’ve always been fascinated by how the 'culture' around money differs from one region of the world to another,' writes personal finance commentator Christopher Liew. 'Today, I’ll outline some of the interesting money habits that I’ve noticed while travelling the globe, starting with some of our own!'
opinion | How much of a raise should you ask for in a time of high inflation?
With the rising cost of food and living expenses, you might be considering asking for a raise. On CTVNews.ca, personal finance contributer Christopher Liew explains how inflation could determine the extent of your raise, as well as other key factors.
opinion | Top sources of passive income for Canadians looking to earn more
On CTVNews.ca, personal finance contributor Christopher Liew explores some of the top sources of passive income in Canada, for those looking to increase their earnings.
Owe money to the CRA? Here are some repayment options
Getting an income tax refund can be a happy bonus for your household budget, but an unexpected tax bill can be an unpleasant surprise, especially if you don't have the cash on hand to pay it.
Canadians with celiac disease especially hard hit by grocery price pain, group says
Those prices have been increasing even more along with the rising cost of groceries overall. Celiac Canada says gluten-free products cost between 150 and 500 per cent more than their regular gluten-containing equivalents.
Why lettuce prices are rising in Canada
Canadians may notice a lack of leafy greens at grocery stores and restaurants, as lettuce prices spike and shortages loom.