The Heart & Stroke Foundation says the Federal government should implement policies to restrict point-of-sale marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages in grocery stores, restaurants and other retail locations, following a report it conducted with the University of Waterloo across Canada.
Children are exposed to a substantial amount of advertising for unhealthy foods and beverages before they even enter a store, according to the report. Half of the ads outside of stores and 41 per cent outside restaurants used at least one child-directed marketing technique. The bombardment continues within stores with displays in the middle of aisles featuring child themes and branded characters. The research found on average there are nine of these displays per store.
"Given the high proportion of child-directed marketing observed in both stores and restaurants in this Canadian research, it's clear that policies aimed to restrict marketing of unhealthy food and beverages to kids– something long promised by the federal government– should include point-of-sale locations," says Doug Roth, CEO of the Heart & Stroke Foundation.
Heart & Stroke says the prevalence of marketing to kids is "troubling because it works, leading to increased consumption of unhealthy foods and sugary drinks. Children aged 9-13 in Canada are getting almost 60 per cent of their daily calories from ultra-processed foods, high in salt, sugars and saturated fat -- more than any other age group."