Issue addressed: Determining children’s exposure to food and beverage company sponsorship, and the effect of this exposure, is important in establishing the extent to which there may be health and societal consequences. This paper aimed to provide preliminary evidence on the scope and potential effects on children of unhealthy food and beverage sponsorship.
Methods: A review of published literature and media and marketing reports was conducted to determine the types of food and beverage sponsorship campaigns that children are exposed to, and the effect of corporate sponsorship (including tobacco and alcohol) on children and adolescents.
Results: A large range of food and beverage sponsorship activities, in Australia and internationally, were identified for both school and sport settings. In particular, food and beverage companies have attempted to develop a marketing presence at all levels of professional and community sport. No information was identified measuring the effect of food and beverage company sponsorship on children and adolescents. However, empirical evidence from consumer studies relating to tobacco and alcohol sponsorship has repeatedly demonstrated that sponsorship has an impact on children’s product recall and product-related attitudes and behavioural intentions.
Conclusions: While there is no available research on the direct effect of food and beverage sponsorship, the demonstrated effects of tobacco and alcohol sponsorship on children’s product awareness, preferences and consumption are likely to be applicable to food companies.
Key words: sponsorship, food, beverage, children, marketing, advertising