Food and beverage marketing influences the diets and health of children and adolescents. In 2019, fast-food restaurants spent $5 billion in total advertising to children. Black and Hispanic youth are disproportionally targeted by unhealthy food and beverage advertising compared to their White peers. The foods and beverages most heavily marketed to youth are for unhealthy products, high in calories, sugar, fat, and/or sodium, that do not align with national recommendations for healthful diets. Research in this area examines how the elements of marketing—including product, price, placement, and promotion—influence the food and beverage preferences and choices of children and youth, as well as their weight status, and how such elements can be used to promote healthier eating.

Research & Publications See all

April 2022

A click too far from fresh foods: A mixed methods comparison of online and in-store grocery behaviors among low-income households

A recent policy in the U.S. authorized monthly benefits from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to be used online to increase grocery access and promote healthy eating. This study examined online grocery attitudes and purchasing behaviors among low-income SNAP-eligible households with young children with and without online grocery experience. An explanatory sequential mixed methods More

March 2022

Kid Influencer Marketing: Gaps in Current Policies and Research

Most food advertisements that children see are for unhealthy foods and beverages. Paying “influencers”—online celebrities with large social media fan bases—to endorse or promote products on their social media accounts is a relatively new tool that companies use to market their products. Engaging kid influencers has the added bonus of reaching younger audiences. Kids may More

February 2022

Marketing of sugar-sweetened children’s drinks and parents’ misperceptions about benefits for young children

Despite expert recommendations, U.S. parents often serve sugar-sweetened children’s drinks, including sweetened fruit-flavored drinks and toddler milks, to young children. This qualitative research explored parents’ understanding of common marketing tactics used to promote these drinks and whether they mislead parents to believe the drinks are healthy and/or necessary for children. We conducted nine focus groups More

February 2022

The Impact of a Pricing Manipulation Intervention on Food Sales in a Small Community Grocery Store in Baltimore City

This study tested a pricing manipulation strategy in a small grocery store to assess the impact on food sales. The prices of 35 healthy foods were decreased over time while simultaneously increasing the prices of 45 unhealthy foods. Trends in sales were examined across each manipulation period. Total sales of healthy foods remained relatively stable More