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‘Don’t judge by outer appearance’: Food promotion to children through food packages in the Sri Lankan market

Author:

Manori Gamage

University of Sri Jayewardenepura, LK
About Manori
Faculty of Medical Sciences
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Abstract

Childhood obesity is a global health issue. One major contributing factor for this is consumption of energy dense food containing high amounts of sugar, fat and salt. These unhealthy food items are promoted extensively to children and their parents through various food marketing strategies. Initially, television was the main mode used, but currently, more budget is allocated to promote food items through food packaging which has shown a major influence on buying at the time of purchase. Children are attracted by design of the packages and promotional items attached to packages while parents are attracted by different claims mentioned on the packages.

 

This survey was carried out to identify the methods used to promote food items to children in the Sri Lankan market and to assess their compliance for promotion using the World Health Organisation nutrient profile model (WHO-NPM). There were 75 items which were grouped under breakfast cereals, milk and milk based food and ready to eat food for easy analysis. Commonest method used was child friendly pictures on the packages while the second method was promotional items attached to the package. Parental decisions were greatly influenced by different claims printed on packages which were either based on nutritional information or content of the product. When assessing the suitability of these food items for promotion, according to the WHO-NPM designed for our region, it was noted   that there are significant deficient areas where NPM which needs to be modified or strengthened. In addition to the above, there should be programmes to promote public awareness on this subject.

 

Sri Lanka Journal of Child Health, 2021; 50(1): 49-55

How to Cite: Gamage, M., 2021. ‘Don’t judge by outer appearance’: Food promotion to children through food packages in the Sri Lankan market. Sri Lanka Journal of Child Health, 50(1), pp.49–55. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljch.v50i1.9402
Published on 05 Mar 2021.
Peer Reviewed

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