The Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity released a comprehensive study on sugary beverage marketing (sugarydrinkfacts.org). One of the key findings is that companies aggressively target black and Latino youth: Black children and teens saw 80 to 90 percent more ads compared to white youth; Latino children saw 49 percent more ads for sugary drinks and energy drinks on Spanish language TV; and Latino teens saw 99 percent more ads.
Sprite takes advantage of the popularity of "stepping" among black youth to increase its sales. The brand created a nationwide "Sprite Stepping" competition, which culminated in six nationally televised competitions on MTV and was hosted by rapper Ludacris. As a result, Sprite volume sales increased 6.7 percent over the year.
The Rudd Center's study on the marketing of sugary drinks reveals that children and teens' exposure to TV ads for soda doubled from 2008 to 2010 and that beverage companies aggressively target African American and Latino youth more than white youth.
WAT-AAH! is a line of bottled water targeted at children, especially boys. The brand has launched a new campaign using bright neon colors, simple and direct messages with child-like hand-written sayings and claims to promote the positive benefits of drinking water.
One way that the beverage industry targets communities of colors is through events popular with specific groups or located in places near our communities. In this press release, we see an example through Pepsi's sponsorship of the NBA's Miami Heat, who hosted a day of basketball events for Latino youth.
The Fresh to Schools initiative is a district-wide program in Orange County, California, that aims to increase access to fresh produce for students. The initiative was partly in response to a youth-led organization, Youth 4 Change, which called for more fresh produce selections in schools.
McDonald's has offered half a million dollars to the Atlanta Women's Foundation, which serves women and girls in the Atlanta area. The money is to be used in part to "empower girls ... to make positive choices about education, careers and lifestyle." This corporate social responsibility campaign is designed in part to create long-term good feelings toward the company in the girls who will participate in these programs, who may then grow up to be Coca-Cola consumers.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest launched its first annual Food Day, and all across the country, communities and organizations mobilized to improve food policies. Hundreds of thousands of individuals organized more than 2,300 events in all 50 states.
The Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) pushes back against the Institute of Medicine's new front-of-package (FOP) symbol system, which offers a single standardized nutrition labeling system. The GMA contends that its own "Facts Up Front" labeling system is better for consumers.