Food Fringe CAG India Marketing To Children


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Bharath Jairaj discusses CAG initiatives to improve food marketing and the food sold in schools in India - a focus on how to engage parents and communities.

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Food Fringe CAG India Marketing To Children

  1. 1. Working with young consumers Bharath Jairaj, CAG, India Protecting Children from Food Marketing
  2. 2. Background <ul><li>School going children and adolescents form an important vulnerable segment of a nation’s population. </li></ul><ul><li>Changing socio-economic conditions, work time pressures as well as the availability of convenience foods and fast-food restaurants inhibit parents’ monitoring of their children’s eating habits. </li></ul><ul><li>Today’s children frequently decide what to eat with little supervision - vulnerable to television and other advertisements for foods low in nutritional values. </li></ul><ul><li>Today’s marketing is highly effective - encourages brand loyalty and regular consumption </li></ul>
  3. 3. “ Advertising has invaded the judgment of children… it has also forced its way into the family, an insolent usurper of parental function, degrading parents to mere intermediaries between their children and the market. This indeed is a social revolution in our time!” - Jules Henry, Culture against Man (1963), New York: Random House, p. 76.
  4. 4. Revolution in Unhealthy Food Marketing <ul><ul><li>Highly effective Unhealthy Food promotion using: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>free toys and collectibles </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>contests </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>advertising and packaging featuring bollywood and cricket celebrities, and cartoon characters </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>food shaped and coloured to appeal to children, etc. </li></ul></ul></ul>
  5. 5. Background <ul><li>2000-03, during CAG’s consumer education programme in schools, teachers complained of increase in marketing of unhealthy food in schools – appealing directly to the children. </li></ul><ul><li>2003 onwards, CAG began working on a campaign to eliminate junk food from school campuses. </li></ul>Why target schools? <ul><li>Schools in a unique position to influence and improve child nutrition </li></ul><ul><li>Children spend substantial time in schools – eat one of their three major meals here </li></ul>
  6. 6. School Canteen Survey Findings <ul><li>Children taught about good nutrition and the value of healthy food choices in the classroom </li></ul><ul><li>But in canteens / cafeterias of schools, children surrounded by ‘junk food’ - soft drinks, chips, fries, chocolates, pizza, sweets – food that contains little, if any, nutritive value. </li></ul><ul><li>Also on-campus marketing and other commercial persuasion techniques rampant </li></ul><ul><li>Canteens, refrigerator, display boards, compound walls, etc. – carried brands and products </li></ul><ul><li>School events - Sports day, Annual day, etc. - sponsored </li></ul><ul><li>Plenty of freebies, gift coupons, contests, exchange offers, etc. - effectively sabotaged any effort made by parents / educators to teach healthy eating habits. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Improving Nutrition in Schools – CAG effort <ul><li>Developing an education pack for students: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Consumer Education Programmes (interactive workshops, painting and poster competitions, etc.) for students, teachers and parents to discuss link between junk food consumption and childhood health disorders </li></ul></ul>
  8. 8. Improving Nutrition in Schools – CAG effort Introduced “Carrotoon” – the mascot of the programme
  9. 9. Improving Nutrition in Schools – CAG effort <ul><li>Posters and leaflets on junk food and its health impacts </li></ul>
  10. 10. Improving Nutrition in Schools – CAG effort <ul><li>A parent’s guide to healthy eating for the family </li></ul>
  11. 11. Improving Nutrition in Schools – CAG effort <ul><li>Activity booklets for teachers to use for creating awareness on food advertisements </li></ul>
  12. 12. Improving Nutrition in Schools – CAG effort <ul><li>Educational food games </li></ul>
  13. 13. Improving Nutrition in Schools – CAG effort <ul><li>CAG also lobbied principals and management of schools to eliminate sale of junk food and to protect children from corporate influence and misleading advertisements within the school campuses. </li></ul><ul><li>The overall purpose was to establish a coordinated school nutrition policy that promotes healthy eating not only through classroom lessons, but within the total school environment. </li></ul><ul><li>The lead taken by PTA’s (Parent-Teachers Association) in assisting CAG with the lobbying efforts became the most crucial factor for the success of this effort. </li></ul>
  14. 14. Improving Nutrition in Schools – CAG effort <ul><li>Repeated lobbying and campaigning by CAG led to one PTA, then several PTA’s speaking to their schools to re-negotiate the contract with the canteen contractor </li></ul><ul><li>Several schools have since banned junk food products - replaced them with more nutritious alternatives </li></ul><ul><li>Also formed a smaller ‘menu planning’ committee to monitor the canteen </li></ul><ul><li>These committees include PTA members, nutritionists and student representatives and some have developed a ‘School Food and Nutrition Policy’. </li></ul><ul><li>CAG helped provide wide publicity to these efforts and lobbied government to bring out similar policy </li></ul>
  15. 15. Scaling up… Junk food ban in schools urged Responding to CAG’s demand – on June 22, 2006, the Tamil Nadu State Consumer Department issued a directive calling for drafting of a common Food and Nutrition Policy for all schools receiving government aid. This Policy includes a ban on promotion and sale of ‘junk food’ in school canteens and on school premises. Other cities and States in India have also begun similar initiatives – including in Mumbai and Delhi December 2006, Indian Health Minister initiated discussions with Human Resources (Education) Minister to ban junk food in all central government schools in the country
  16. 16. What can consumers do? <ul><li>Lobby school managements to phase out junk food from their campuses </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Write to schools that sell junk food, remind them they have a responsibility towards health of their students </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Meet with the PTA of the schools, sensitise them on the issue and work with the PTA to urge the school to take immediate action </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Campaign for improving nutrition of children in schools through awareness programmes such as public debates, educational exhibitions etc. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Work with schools in conducting nutrition education for students and parents </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide assistance to schools in drafting the FNP </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Assist the Nutrition Task Force in the implementation of the policy and the monitoring of its implementation </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Document and give wide publicity to model school canteens </li></ul>
  17. 17. THANK YOU! For more information contact: [email_address] A journey begins with a single step…