The nature and extent of food marketing on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube posts in Mexico

Valero-Morales, Isabel; Nieto, Claudia; Garcia, Abad; Espinosa-Montero, Juan; Aburto, Tania C.; Tatlow-Golden, Mimi; Boyland, Emma and Barquera, Simon (2023). The nature and extent of food marketing on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube posts in Mexico. Pediatric Obesity, 18(5), article no. e13016.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/ijpo.13016

Abstract

Food and beverage marketing appealing to children and adolescents has an impact on their food preferences, purchases requests, consumption patterns, health outcomes and obesity. The objective of this study was to assess the nature and extent of food and beverage marketing on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube posts in Mexico. This was a content analysis that followed the World Health Organization CLICK methodology to comprehend the landscape of digital food marketing campaigns of the top selling food products and brands and the most popular accounts carried out between September and October 2020. A total of 926 posts from 12 food and beverages products and 8 brands were included. Facebook was the social media platform with the most posts and greatest engagement. The most prevalent marketing techniques were brand logo, image of packaging, image of the product itself, hashtags, and engagement to consume. 50% of the posts were assessed as appealing to children, 66% to adolescents and 80% to either children or adolescents. Ninety-one percent of products (n=1250) were classified as unhealthy according to the Mexican warning labels nutrient profile; 93% of the food promoted on posts appealing to either children or adolescents were unhealthy. Hashtags commonly referred to the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the unhealthy food digital marketing features marketing techniques that appeal to children or adolescents, moreover, the use of the pandemic hashtag reflected brands’ responsiveness to the environment at the time of the study. The present data contribute to evidence supporting the strengthening of food marketing regulations in Mexico.

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