PHAI has conducted extensive research into how state consumer protection laws can be used to protect children and teens from harmful food and beverage marketing. After years of stalled attempts the federal level to address tobacco marketing, action at the state level by the state attorney’s general and the private bar resulted in the Master Settlement Agreement barring most forms of tobacco advertising. While food marketing to youth is certainly different, efforts to build accountability for harmful food marketing to youth have followed a similar path as the one that was cut in the tobacco control fight. The following resources are available to support state-level efforts to protect youth from predatory marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages:
Digital Food Marketing
State Law Approaches to Address Digital Food Marketing to Youth: this report was written by PHAI with contributions from Berkeley Media Studies Group and the Center for Digital Democracy. The report highlights a number of key legal and factual issues concerning the use of new media to market unhealthy foods and beverages to youth. This practical resource for state attorneys general and public health advocates also contains detailed legal profiles of ten states. Profiles describe laws and regulations that can be invoked to address digital food marketing beyond general prohibitions on unfair and deceptive marketing.
- Executive Summary
- Why Digital Marketing Is Different
- Packaging: Digital Marketing at the Moment of Truth
- Personal Jurisdiction
- Mobile Food & Beverage Marketing
- Facebook Advertising
- Incentives-Based Interactive Food & Beverage Marketing
- Appendix: State Law Profiles
Support for State Law Approaches to Address Digital Food Marketing to Youth was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundations Healthy Eating Research Program (#69293).
Viral Marketing to Children
- It’s Not Just for Teens: Viral Marketing to Young Children describes how viral digital marketing tactics, such as “tell-a-friend” web campaigns, are used to induce children to share e-mail addresses of their friends and spread brand advertising of unhealthy foods among their peers. This legal issue brief for state attorneys general and child health and privacy stakeholders explains the tactics that are used and suggests ways that they can be addressed under state law.
Pester Power Marketing
- Reining in Pester Power Food and Beverage Marketing by Cara Wilking applies our research to food marketers who appeal to kids’ ability to nag adults to purchase unhealthy foods (pdf).
50-State Consumer Protection Law Survey
PHAI conducted a fifty-state review of state consumer protection laws to determine how they can be used to address unfair and deceptive food and beverage marketing practices directed toward children or those who purchase food and beverages for children. These state laws permit private citizens, and state attorneys general or prosecutors to take action to limit the marketing of unhealthy foods to children. We identified the leading or most likely to be invoked consumer protection statute for each state and the District of Columbia and summarized key provisions relevant to future claims alleging unfair, deceptive or unconscionable food marketing to children. The focus of the profiles is on relevant statutory language as opposed to case law interpreting substantive provisions.
- Major Findings from 50-State Survey of State Consumer Protection Law to Limit Junk Food Marketing to Children by Cara Wilking and Mark Gottlieb summarizes and contextualizes our research (pdf).
INDIVIDUAL STATE CONSUMER PROTECTION PROFILES
Each state’s consumer protection profile opens as a pdf document:
This research was supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Healthy Eating Research Program (#66968 & (#69293).