Consumers doubtful on impact of junk food advertising ban, new research finds

With a ban on junk food advertising on London’s transport network having come into effect last week and the Government reported to be planning a consultation into banning junk food advertising on television before 9pm, new research has found that most people are doubtful as to its likely impact.

Research conducted by consumer insight agency Engage Research found that 40% of those surveyed were in favour of banning junk food advertising on transport systems. However, 70% believed that people will continue eat what they like irrespective of whether they see advertising or not and only one in 3 (31%) believed that the ban would improve the eating habits of adults, teens or children.

Nearly half (49%) agreed that stopping advertising for fast food was another example of the nanny state and that people should be able to eat what they like. Only 14% disagreed.

“Interestingly, given the proliferation of fast food options, more than half of those surveyed pointed to healthier options being available as fast food,” explains Lyndsay Peck, Director, Engage Research, “whilst 60% agreed that ‘not all fast food is bad for you, there are plenty of healthy options available’.”

Nearly half of those surveyed (46%) said that advertising on television for food and drink products was most likely to catch their eye, compared with 19% on transport systems; 18% via fliers through the door; 16% in magazines and newspapers; 13% on bill boards on the street, and 12% on the radio.

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