Many Americans love fast food because of the convenience its vendors offer in delivering tasty food with minimum delays at an affordable price. Like any other business, convenience food chains have intensified advertising to increase their market. However, food vendors target children because they are an easily exploitable customer base. According to the Federal Trade Commission, the take-out food industry spends as much as $583 million annually marketing its product to children (Dalton et al. 3). Juveniles are rightfully part of the fast-food industry’s target consumers. However, vendors should not advertise their products directly to minors because of their limited capacity to make consumer choices. The seller’s key promotion strategy is manipulating children into buying products impulsively.
Children are unaware of the health concerns attributed to junk food. Based to the movie “Supersize me”, fast food can cause drastic weight gain, which may result in obesity, as depicted by the McDonald’s diet experiment (Spurlock). Children are more prone to such complications than adults because they are at the exponential growth stage. It is marketing malpractice to take advantage of a potential buyer’s naivety to sell them a harmful product. Even though food chains have made efforts to include plant-based products as healthier options, they still emphasize junk food in children’s advertisements.
Exposing juveniles to processed food has a negative impact on their dietary preferences. Fast food mostly has high fat and artificial sweetener content. Once children acclimatize to such tastes, it is difficult to restructure their diets to incorporate homemade food that is balanced and healthier. If one is addicted to fast food, they may develop nutritional deficiencies and obesity. Food vendors have abdicated the culinary industry’s responsibility of promoting healthy living. While parents are responsible for choosing their children’s diet, they face a difficult task in opposing the misguiding ideas that fast food advertisements impart to the young ones.
Fast-food chains and restaurants promote a sedentary lifestyle among minors. Most sellers promote their brands by making delicacies easily accessible to the target market. Children can order their favorite treats by calling the food joint using the contacts displayed in the advertisement. The easy access to ready-made food denies young people the opportunity to develop a sense of personal responsibility. They find no need to learn basic chores, such as preparing simple food or cleaning dishes.
Stakeholders in the food industry argue that fast food compliments homemade food. However, convenience chains promote their products, intending to replace authentic meals. Vendors have developed products such as “family packs,” implying that processed food can substitute for a home-cooked hold meal. Children develop the mentality that fast food is a fundamental need rather than a luxury that should be consumed moderately. As a result of such promotions, minors are likely to become impulsive buyers.
Take-out vendors are deceitful in their advertisements, especially those targeting the juvenile audience. Most promotions emphasize that it is alright to eat fast food in large quantities. Some food joints convince young clients with large quantity discounts and attractive portions. Vendors argue that the buyers purchase as much food as they require to satisfy their needs. However, the sellers employ manipulative techniques that persuade the ignorant buyer to order more food than they need. One technique such restaurants employ is using deceivingly large packaging. The wrapping creates an illusion of substantial food portions to attract the buyer. However, the quantities are small to bait customers to order more food.
While the fast-food market continues to grow, it is important to regulate its promotion and subsequent consumption. One radical suggestion brought forward by health activists is the ban on convenience food advertisements. However, it has met immense opposition from stakeholders in the market. The government should enforce laws limiting children’s exploitation through online and television content. Fast food sellers ought to incorporate ethics in their marketing strategies to prevent the vulnerable young population’s exploitation.
Super Size Me. Directed by Morgan Spurlock, performance by Morgan Spurlock and Alex Jameison, Hart Sharp Video, 2004.