Australian consumers reveal negative perceptions of ‘toy’ meals

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 9th June 2009

The use of toys and competitions to entice fast-food purchases has been criticised by the Obesity Coalition following a survey suggesting that consumers are keen on regulation of such practices.

The new research claimed that 91% of consumers believe the government should regulate the use of toys and giveaways to market unhealthy food and drink to children and 55% believe this practice should be stopped completely. The results are from a survey undertaken by the Cancer Council Victoria into consumer attitudes towards obesity prevention initiatives.

In addition, 91% indicated that the use of popular personalities or characters to promote food to children should be regulated and 90% want regulations around competitions.

“There is overwhelming public support for stricter government regulation of the various marketing methods used to promote junk food to children,” Obesity Policy Coalition’s Senior Policy Adviser, Jane Martin, asserted. “Government regulation is needed to clamp down on these inappropriate marketing practices to protect children and help stamp out the growing problem of childhood overweight and obesity.”

“In spite of 25% of Australian children being overweight or obese, there is currently no regulation to protect them and their parents from marketing techniques such as associating products with popular children’s movie characters, and offering toys and competitions with purchase.”The research also found that there are very high levels of approval for regulation to restrict the marketing of unhealthy food to children, including on commercial television, according to the Obesity Policy Coalition – which includes a wide range of prominent health and consumer groups.