The advertising and marketing of unhealthful foods and beverages via cross-promotions and premiums, such as toys and other incentives, may contribute to the development of unhealthy eating patterns and obesity, particularly in children. Santa Clara and San Francisco Counties (Calif.) passed separate ordinances on May 21, 2010 and November 9, 2010, respectively, preventing restaurants from offering toys or other incentive items to children in conjunction with unhealthful food and beverage choices. Timely evaluation of the impact of these policies is critical as other localities consider adopting similar policies. Therefore, the aims of this study are to: 1) capture relevant menu changes following policy implementation, including menu modifications/reformulations, price changes, and marketing variations; 2) study the impacts of the ordinances on specific food and beverage choices and parent perception and behavior regarding menu choices for their children; and 3) document each County’s efforts to implement and enforce the ordinance and explore media response. This study will utilize a quasi-experimental, parallel-group based matched design to compare pre-post effects on 8 Santa Clara County fast food restaurants and a pre-post design in San Francisco County to compare 19 McDonald’s and 11 Burger King restaurants before and after the ordinance goes into effect. Data sources will include restaurant and menu audits, parent point-of-purchase surveys, restaurant environment observations, content analysis of media coverage, and County monitoring of implementation and enforcement.
Assessing the Impact of Two California County Ordinances Banning Toys or Other Incentives with Unhealthful Menu Items for Kids
Nearly $2 billion is spent yearly by U.S. food and beverage companies to market products to children, with the majority of expenditures promoting less healthful foods and drinks. For restaurants, including toys with children’s meals is the leading form of food marketing directed at children. The practice of child-directed marketing … More
In December 2011, San Francisco enacted the first citywide ordinance–the Healthy Food Incentives Ordinance– prohibiting restaurants in the city from giving away free toys or other incentives with children’s meals or with foods and beverages not meeting minimal nutritional criteria. This paper examines the impact of the ordinance on restaurant … More
Santa Clara County, California was the first U.S. jurisdiction to implement an ordinance that prohibits the distribution of toys and other incentives to children with meals, foods, or beverages that do not meet minimal nutrition criteria. This paper examines how ordinance-affected restaurants changed their children’s menus, child-directed marketing, and toy … More