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by ADMIN on JULY 1, 2011

Here’s the scenerio…

You’re sitting down with your kids watching cartoons … have you ever noticed what the commerials are saying, what they’re telling you and your child what to do? It’s astounding what kid-directed hype food companies can get away with.

There are definitely a few that push my buttons as a Registered Dietitian – but the most recent offender is a commercial for Nutella.

Go HERE to view the commercial. Watch and then read on…

Seems like the perfect scenario, right? The ad touches on all the hot buttons of a mom’s morning: hectic life, screaming kids, kids won’t eat, guilt of them not eating, the need to find something nutritious and delicious.

Now don’t get me wrong, Nutella is certainly delicious (I do love a good dollop of the chocolately-hazelnut spread on a banana or by a mini spoonful for a treat) – but does it have the nutritional quality that you want to send your kids out the door with?

The ad says that it’s made of “hazelnuts, skim milk, and a hint of cocoa” – what they neglect to point out is that the very first ingredient is sugar followed by saturated fat-filled palm oil. Kinda left out those ingredients, didn’t they?

How can a manufacturer get away with this kind of misleading hype? It turns out that there are specific rules and regulations put out by Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), under the Council for Better Business Bureaus, which food companies can voluntarily follow to be able to tout foods to children. One rule includes:

Ads for foods should clearly depict the appropriate role of the product within the framework of the eating occasion depicted. Ads for a mealtime should depict food within a nutritionally balanced meal. Snack foods should be clearly depicted as such, and not as substitutes for meals.

This seems reasonable and was clearly developed in order to create responsible advertising to children; but it doesn’t negate the fact that potentially poor food choices are being promoted to kids.

In the Nutella commercial the product is served on “multi-grain toast and whole wheat waffles” to make it part of a ‘nutritionally balanced diet’. In the ad there are glasses of milk and orange juice in front of the kids to round out the meal. But does that make it OK to serve a food with the primary ingredients of sugar and saturated fat to kids for breakfast every day?

That’s what the manufacturers want you to think.

What do YOU think?!


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