The junk food industry is hijacking sport and children’s health, according to Children’s Food Campaign and Food Active.  The recently published report Kicking Out Junk Food documents how 2021’s ‘Summer of Sport’ was used by the food and drink industry to deluge families with marketing, advertising and sports personality-led promotions for pizzas, burgers, chocolate, crisps and fizzy drinks. Case studies collected over the summer found a plethora of marketing techniques employed by less healthy food and drinks brands, including street-level advertising; shirt and sleeve sponsorship; social media and app-based promotions; the use of sports personalities, and discounted matchday food bundles at retail outlets and through online food delivery platforms.

Whilst the Government is set to implement new legislation on healthier food marketing via the new Health and Social Care Bill due next year, this report highlights the significant effects felt by parents of the brand level advertising and many other tactics used in sports sponsorship that fall outside the scope of these plans. The report’s authors say the power of UK sport to influence healthier lifestyles is being undermined by a constant barrage of unhealthy food and drink sponsorship deals and advertising and call for:

  • Government to include sports sponsorship in all future healthier advertising and marketing regulations for food and drink.
  • Sports associations to refuse all further sponsorship deals that include marketing less healthy food or drink brands
  • High profile athletes and sports personalities to use their influence to support healthy food programmes and refuse to work with less healthy brands.

You can add your voice to the Children’s Food Campaign and share your views by applying to be part of their Parent’s Jury.