The examine’s findings, revealed in Maternal & Child Nutrition, additionally revealed that many mother and father are confused about totally different product classes, reminiscent of sweetened fruit-flavored drinks, one hundred pc juice, toddler milks, and toddler formulation. Companies typically cross-brand their much less wholesome merchandise with more healthy merchandise and place these similar-looking drinks side-by-side on cabinets at retailers, contributing to this confusion.
“Marketing tactics commonly used to promote fruit-flavored drinks and toddler milks appear to mislead, mask and misrepresent true ingredients,” says Frances Fleming-Milici, Director of Marketing Initiatives on the Rudd Center and lead writer of the examine. “Parents were surprised, and many were angry, when they learned of the ingredients in these drinks and that health-related claims on the packages are not supported by scientific research.”
Health consultants don’t advocate serving fruit-flavored drinks or toddler milks. Sugar-sweetened fruit-flavored drinks have little or no juice, and plenty of merchandise marketed for younger kids even have non-nutritive sweeteners.
Toddler milks are usually produced by toddler system corporations and marketed for kids (12–36 months) as the subsequent step after toddler system, however they consist primarily of powdered milk, added sugar (corn syrup solids or different sweeteners), and vegetable oil. Despite professional suggestions, 27 % of kids ages 12 to 18 months, and practically 50 % of 2- to 4-year-olds eat sugar-sweetened drinks on a given day.
The analysis used focus teams in low-to-moderate earnings neighborhoods in Hartford, CT and Washington, DC to guage mother and father’ understanding of frequent advertising techniques used to advertise these drinks and whether or not they mislead mother and father to consider the drinks are wholesome and/or essential for kids. Participants shared their information, attitudes, and behaviors concerning serving totally different drinks to their kids and had been requested to replicate on new data they discovered via the main target teams.
Key findings embody:
- Few mother and father realized that many fruit-flavored drinks include non-nutritive sweeteners along with added sugar.
- Parents expressed shock that toddler milk package deal claims should not supported by scientific analysis and described them as “deliberately misleading.”
- Participants mentioned the upper value of one hundred pc juice relative to sweetened fruit-flavored drinks as a purpose why mother and father might select sweetened fruit-flavored drinks for his or her little one.
- Participants described their grocery procuring as “rushed,” giving them little time to distinguish amongst kids’s merchandise on the time of buy and making them depend on front-of-package data to make buy selections.
- Parents perceived that corporations monitored the age of their little one after signing up for toddler system coupons as a result of they started receiving toddler milk coupons and samples when their little one was “closer to a year.”
Findings assist the necessity for insurance policies to handle doubtlessly deceptive advertising of those drinks and reveal alternatives to make use of counter advertising to cut back mother and father’ provision of sweetened fruit-flavored drinks and toddler milks.
Current sugary drink discount campaigns ought to inform customers that sweetened fruit-flavored drinks and toddler milks are additionally sugary drinks, and they need to additionally assist them establish added sugar and non-nutritive sweeteners.
“Industry can and should do more,” says Fleming-Milici. “Increasing transparency about product ingredients and eliminating misleading marketing of toddler milks and fruit-flavored drinks can go a long way in supporting parents’ best efforts to provide healthy drinks to their children.”