New York State Bill targets predatory food marketing

Predatory Marketing on

Statement of CSPI Senior Policy Scientist DeAnna Nara

Families in New York and around the country are faced with the difficult task of trying to navigate a challenging food environment that works against us with aggressive, targeted marketing of unhealthy foods and drinks. Parents need more tools in the toolbox to protect children from that kind of predatory food marketing. That’s why the Center for Science in the Public Interest stands in strong support of the Predatory Marketing Prevention Act introduced today in the New York state legislature. 

The fast food industry is a top food marketer to kids, influencing their food preferences and beliefs. And we know that product preference has been shown to start forming with as little as a single commercial exposure and can increase with repeated exposures.  

Today's children spend 44.5 hours per week in front of computer, television, and game screens, more time than any other activity in their lives except sleeping. During this time, on average, children ages two to 11 view approximately two ads for fast food per day on television alone. 

Chain restaurants spend billions of dollars on targeted marketing, especially to Black and Latine children and teens. In 2019, chains such as McDonald’s, Domino’s, and Taco Bell, spent over $1.5 billion on TV ads to target Black and Latine kids and teens. 

Junk food marketing aimed at children is inherently unfair and misleading, as the bill introduced today makes clear. Parents—and cities and the state—should be able to bring legal action to protect kids and members of other vulnerable populations. We applaud State Senator Zellnor Myrie for introducing this trail-blazing legislation and we hope to see it land on the Governor’s desk. 

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