Child food promotion to the `under 8's' in the UK
Extant research downplays the influence of children under the age of 8 upon food related decision-making and consumption within families. The exploratory findings of this study suggest that these younger children utilise effective, if less sophisticated techniques, than older children and play a significant role in determining family food consumption. Utilising novel techniques to elicit responses, the research employed focus group and interviews of children aged between 3 and 8 years. Children demonstrated purposeful and directed pursuit of food brands and products, and in some cases an awareness of the purpose of promotion and desire to use these in their dealings with parents. The findings contradict some of the existing thinking in the extant literature that younger children have little/less influence on purchase decisions of their parents in relation to food. Perhaps more importantly, our exploratory findings would underpin an argument that much greater debate relating to the ethics and practice of food promotion to the under 8's' in the UK should also be occurring.
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