Thursday, July 19, 2007

Big Food's Useless Gesture

Yesterday was awash with news reports of how Big Food is voluntarily planning to decrease advertising targeting children.

They're trying to throw government a bone so as to allow the government an easy out as to why they're not going to legislate any reforms.

So what has Big Food offered?

Well certainly not a blanket ban. Instead it's a company by company, product by product, voluntary (and therefore reversible and unenforcible) series of changes. And apparently it's a ban on advertising during children's shows, but not "family" shows like American Idol which according to a report in the New York Times is watched by 2.1 million children between the ages of 6-11.

For a complete list of the companies involved and their pledges, click here.

Pepsi-Co will only market two products to children - Baked cheetos and Gatorade. McDonald's will only advertise two type of Happy Meals one with four Chicken McNuggets, apple dippers with caramel dip and low-fat white milk, or one with a hamburger, apple dippers and milk. General Mills will stop marketing its Twix cereal, but Cocoa Puffs will remain A-OK to target to kids.

Let's see. Cocoa Puffs for breakfast, baked cheetos for a snack, four Chicken McNuggets, apple dippers with caramel dip and low-fat white milk for lunch, some gatorade while playing XBOX and then for dinner - maybe that rising crust pizza that was advertised last night on American Idol.

What a healthy day.

Thank you Big Food - you guys sure are a big help.