Observations of marketing on food packaging targeted to youth in retail food stores

Diana S. Grigsby-Toussaint, Imelda K. Moise, Sarah D. Geiger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is growing evidence that exposure to food marketing influences dietary preferences among youth. Few studies exploring this association, however, have focused on the retail food store environment where families negotiate the influence of food and beverage marketing on purchasing practices. Consequently, we sought to examine: (i) the extent to which foods marketed on the internet and television to youth are also available and marketed in retail food stores, and (ii) whether differences exist in the marketing practices across store types and by neighborhood racial composition. In 2008, a cross-sectional survey of 118 food stores was conducted in four Midwestern cities in the United States. Results showed that 82% of stores assessed carried items commonly marketed to youth via television or the internet. The items most likely to have some type of marketing technique were noncarbonated drinks (97.7%), fruit and cereal bars (76.9%), and soda (62.2%). Grocery stores were significantly more likely than convenience stores to have marketing for breads and pastries (34.6% vs. 17.9%), breakfast cereals (52.0% vs. 22.9%), cookies and crackers (54.2% vs. 25.3%), dairy (70.8% vs. 42.7%), and ice cream (23.8% vs. 9.8%). Stores located in black neighborhoods were significantly more likely to have marketing, in comparison to white neighborhoods, for breads and pastries (35.7% vs. 17.1%), breakfast cereals (44.4% vs. 25.0%), and cookies and crackers (48.1% vs. 26.3%). Our results highlight the importance of examining food marketing techniques in the retail food store environment, where visual cues from television and the internet may be reinforced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1898-1900
Number of pages3
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Endocrinology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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