184985 ABCs and 123s of school food and beverage marketing: How marketers use schools as a channel for reaching students

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 1:15 PM

Lisa Craypo, MPH, RD , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Sarah Samuels, DrPH , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Sarah E. Clark , Samuels & Associates, Oakland, CA
Ameena Batada, DrPH , Nutrition Policy, Center for Science in the Public Interest, Washington, DC
Victoria Berends, BS , California Project LEAN, Public Health Institute, Sacramento, CA
Peggy Agron, MA, RD , California Project LEAN, California Department of Public Health, Sacramento, CA

Marketing and advertising play a significant role in setting norms and encouraging behaviors, especially for children. Marketers have tapped into an audience that is particularly vulnerable to the messages and tactics of the food and beverage industry by marketing in schools. Commercial activities in U.S. public schools have expanded during the last decade as a result of marketers' taking advantage of schools' financial vulnerability due to chronic funding shortages, coupled with marketers' wish to increase sales and generate product loyalty. In-school marketing activities related to food and beverages include: product sales; direct advertising; indirect marketing; and market research.


A tool that assesses food and beverage marketing on school campuses was used in a variety of studies and with a number of schools in California to assess the variety and prevalence of techniques marketers use to reach students with their products and messages while at school.


Findings will be presented that describe: the types of food and beverage marketing found on California school campuses, the types of foods marketed, the most common campus locations in which food marketing was found, and less visible forms of marketing such as fundraising food sales, and scholarship programs. Food and beverage marketing was found in many locations throughout the campuses visited and multiple layers of marketing were present from visible signage to more subtle food and beverage industry presence. Although beverage vending machines often advertised water, little marketing was found for healthy foods that are lacking in children's diets.

Learning Objectives:
List food and beverage marketing techniques employed in school settings Discuss the types of foods most commonly advertised in schools Describe the prevalence of food marketing in schools

Keywords: Nutrition, Children and Adolescents

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I was the primary investigator on the research studies that will be described.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.