This just in via the Ethicurean: in 2006, the U.S. food industry spent $1.6 billion — that’s billion, with a ‘B’ — marketing to children.
The scary thing? The FTC is heralding this $1.6 billion as “progress”.
If that’s what “progress” means, perhaps that explains why researchers at Johns Hopkins now estimate that a staggering 86% of Americans will be overweight or obese by 2030, a mere 2+ decades from now.
Does all this advertising work? You bet it does. Just hang around a supermarket and listen to conversations between parents and kids. Listen to those kids asking for products by name. Watch the children hold up boxes of Sponge Bob Square Pants mac and cheese, crying “pleeeeeease.”
Hell, take my kids to the supermarket sometime. Just watch them beg.
This is the inevitable part where somebody invokes the words “parental responsibility.” And I assure you: I know all about parental responsibility. I’m all for parental responsibility and I’m plenty willing to have a real conversation about parental responsibility. But I’d rather have that conversation once food companies stop doing everything in their power to undermine parental authority.
Oh food companies, wielders of budgets as large and as daunting as our nation’s ever-rising Body Mass Index, as long as you are undermining my authority as a parent, your words about my responsibility as a parent ring just a wee bit hollow.