Tell us about a healthy sponsorship deal your club has forged with a local business so we can give them a shout out.
We usually associate sport with a healthy and active lifestyle but food and drink companies frequently use sport to promote unhealthy food to kids. Australian children are not protected from unhealthy food sponsorship at any level or age group and this needs to change.
Sports clubs and associations do a great job providing Aussie kids with sporting opportunities but they also have a responsibility to children to provide positive messages about nutrition. Due to limited funding avenues for children’s sport, clubs often resort to sponsorship from junk food and drink companies. The result is that children receive contradictory messages that encourage unhealthy eating behaviours.
It’s a profitable game for marketers
Compared to the cost of television advertising, the promotion of food and drink to children through sports’ sponsorship is relatively inexpensive. Junk food promotion:
Food and drink companies promote to children through sport in a variety of ways. It is not just sponsorship of children’s sport that influences our kids.
Some brands spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year sponsoring big league sport at a national level. You can imagine the appeal for your child in a particular food or drink if their favourite team or athlete promotes it.
Marketing of unhealthy food and drink through sport can take the form of:
- naming rights for teams and events
- signage at sports club on billboards
- logos on uniforms
- branded merchandise giveaways such as hats and water bottles
- food and drink samples and giveaways including discount vouchers
- free meals at fast food outlet
- promotional fliers for brand or specific products
- logos on printed materials such as welcome kit or club handbook
- sports retailers
- sports clothing and equipment manufacturers
- telecommunications companies
- travel companies
Combating Pester Power
Share your tips for combating Pester Power
Parents do say ‘no’ when children are pestering for the unhealthy food overwhelmingly displayed at supermarket checkouts. However, it’s hard to say no all the time. Parents’ Voice members share top tips for tackling checkout pester power:
- Set clear food boundaries with your kids. Talk about ‘anytime’ and ‘sometimes’ foods.
- Be strong when ‘pester power’ kicks in! Persistent nagging is a powerful tool for kids to get what they want and giving in reinforces this behaviour.
- Read nutrition labels with your children. Talk about the ingredients and where food comes from.
- Let your kids take part in the grocery shopping by asking them to pick out healthy foods or collect the ingredients for a healthy meal.
- Be a good role model. Buy, eat and prepare foods that you want your children to eat.
- Talk about advertising and marketing tricks with older kids.
When they are too young to reason with:
- Only take little ones shopping on a full belly.
- Take toys or books along to occupy hands and minds at the checkout.
- Don’t introduce lollies etc. too soon – kids don’t know they exist until we introduce them or they get old enough to discover them.
Is their an ad, app or promotion that you feel is promoting junk food or unhealthy beverages to your children? Tell us about it and we will help you hold the advertiser accountable.
The regulatory system for food and drink marketing to children is complex and does not adequately protect our kids from the large amount of persuasive food and drink marketing.
Most Australian food and beverage companies claim to market to children responsibly however, the regulation of this practice is jointly administered by the television, advertising and food industries. Unfortunately, industry self-regulation is not working.
The World Health Organisation is calling for governments to step in restrict junk food marketing to kids to help curb childhood obesity. Only further regulations will sufficiently change the food marketing environment to reduce the negative influence on children’s eating habits.
Parents’ Voice supports:
- a ban on all television advertisements for unhealthy foods during children’s peak TV viewing times (from 6-9am and 4-9pm on weekdays, and 6am-12pm and 4-9pm on weekends).
- restrictions on other forms of marketing unhealthy foods and drinks to children, including endorsements by celebrities and characters, premium offers (such as collectable toys or on-pack competitions), cinema, print and online advertising.
You can hold the food and beverage industry accountable by: