Effects of Food Advertising on Eating Habits

In 1997 spend the american food manufacturers $7 billion in advertising. The focus of most of those ads was on high processed and packaged food. This food group tend to be consumed in large quantities in the United States according to Federal dietary recommendations such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Whereas the expenditures on meat, fruit and vegetable advertising are insignificant.

For nutrition education, evaluation and demonstrations spent the U.S. Department of Agriculture $333.3 million. This is nearly, what the food industry spent on advertising just for coffee, tea and cocoa or snacks and nuts. Insignificantly more than half (60 percent) the amount spent on advertising for carbonated soft drinks and less than half the amount spent promoting beer, candy and gum or breakfast cereals.[1]

Those advertisements are orientated on the consumers wishes and needs. Respectively shall they wake a desire in a potential consumer that makes him believe he needs this product. On this point the marketing stragegies get into the plan. They are responsible to place the advertisement for example when the consumer is hungry. Therefore increase the quantity of snack advertisements in the afternoon.[2] Food advertising, although you may not be aware of it, has you by the you-know-what and is partially responsible for your food cravings.

This is not about making anyone the victim of advertising. Every person in the world is subject to personal responsibility, and no one is forcing the food down your throat. But that doesn’t change the fact that unadulterated advertising is a time-tested and proven method to make people “crave” certain items.

As human, we’re subject to herd-like behavior – practically anything to fit in with a group. Ingrained in our brains is a need to feel blended with society. When you couple this with the temptation of absolutely delicious food, inexpensive menu items in a harsh economy and a “quick fix” for hunger when you’re otherwise busy with your day, you have a mass migration toward unhealthy choices, thus making the fast food market a multi-billion-dollar industry.

The effects of food advertising are overwhelmingly negative.

Food advertising does have a negative effect on the nation, but the customers have the final say. So while you might want to blame someone else for the problems of a nation, it’s important to remember that individuals aren’t force-fed. They’re aware that they’re making the “easy” choice and thus in line to suffer potential consequences.

With power comes responsibility and advertising to children and pushing only the unhealthiest of options is grossly irresponsible for food companies. Many are correcting this, but many are still pushing their unhealthy choices out there.

The bottom line is that people need to be more knowledgeable about the choices they’re making. If fast food joints advertise to children, then simply don’t take your kids there. If they’re showing that huge juicy burger on TV, opt for the salad if you go there!


  1. US Departement of Agriculture Economi Research Service
  2. USC Marshall Consumer Behavior:
    The Psychology Of Marketing

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