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On-line version ISSN 1852-7337


PIAGGIO, Laura Raquel  and  SOLANS, Andrea Mónica. Ultra-processed fun: food products targeted at children in supermarkets in Argentina. Approach to marketing strategies and nutritional composition. Diaeta [online]. 2017, vol.35, n.159, pp.09-16. ISSN 1852-7337.

Introduction: Food and beverage marketing targeted at children has been identified as a key factor in obesogenic environments. Most researches have focused on TV advertisements, paying less attention to the messages transmitted through packaging. The aim of this exploratory approach is to identify food and beverage targeted at children in supermarkets in Argentina, to characterize the advertising resources used in packages and to analyze nutritional composition. Materials and Method: The data collection was conducted during the first half of May 2016 in supermarkets all across the country. The sample was made up through convenience. Advertising messages and nutrition information were recorded, and photographs of the packages were taken. The nutritional composition was analyzed according to the Pan American Health Organization´s (PAHO) Nutrient Profile Model. Data was processed using SPSS software. Results: 95 products were identified in the sections of grocery, dairy, frozen foods, beverages and refrigerated products, taking into account the category of "fun foods" proposed by the Canadian researcher Charlene Elliott. The most widely used advertising resource is the inclusion of fictional characters, either of the own brand or of cartoons and children's films. Almost half of the products include games in the package itself or links to web pages to access to online games or raffles. All the products were ultra-processed, 97% of which have an inadequate nutritional composition according to the PAHO Profile Model (70% high in added sugars, 50% in saturated fat and 27% in sodium content). Paradoxically, nutritional claims are included in a high proportion. Conclusions: It becomes imperative to advance on clear and comprehensive regulations of food marketing to children as well as on a front of package warning labeling.

Keywords : Child’s obesity; Food marketing; (Ultra) food processing; Nutrients profile; Marketing regulation.

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