Much research has been carried out across the N8 AgriFood programme into the effects of food marketing on consumption and behaviour, and the subsequent health challenges surrounding obesity and undernourishment.

Marketing of Food to Children

The targeting of children for the purposes of food marketing, particularly HFSS items (high fat, sugar and salt), has been a focal point of research by a number of academics across N8 AgriFood.

Studies conducted across the programme have found direct links between exposure to marketing of HFSS processed foods and beverages, and an increase in consumption among children. The results sit hand in hand with data that reveals children who used the internet for more than three hours per day had almost 300% greater odds of spending their pocket money on advertised products than children who were low internet users.

As a result N8 AgriFood has been calling on policy makers in the UK to implement practices that will reduce the exposure of under 18’s to HFSS produce marketing, and in turn, help the Government meet its objectives of halving childhood obesity by 2030.

The programme has campaigned for:

  1.     A 9 pm watershed on television advertising for HFSS products
  2.     A ban on all HFSS advertising on transport networks
  3.     A policy that prevents the collection of data from children (under 18 years) online (in this instance for the purposes of preventing targeted marketing)

Leading the work in this field is Dr Emma Boyland, a senior lecturer in appetite and obesity at the University of Liverpool. See below examples of Government, Public Body, Charity reports that have reference Dr Boyland’s work, of that she herself has written, as well as presentations by Dr Boyland on the topic.