Safe Food Campaign, The Green Party and Parent's Centre present
The 2005 New Zealand Children's Food Awards
This year's awards will be focused on the exploitive marketing of unhealthy food and drinks to our children.
Unhealthy food targeted at children is fuelling a childhood obesity epidemic and contributing to debilitating childhood diseases like diabetes.
That's why this year's Food Awards will focus on the manipulative techniques the food industry is using to target our children and persuade them to eat unhealthy fatty, sugary and salty food. We want to deliver a powerful message to food manufacturers to stop targeting children in this way, and to the government to protect our children from the continual pressures on them to eat unhealthy food.
We want to protect children from marketing practices that undermine healthy eating on television and in the school environment. This would include a prohibition on television advertisements promoting unhealthy food, and a requirement that schools only allow healthy food to be sold or marketed. Other countries such as Sweden and Japan restrict TV advertising around children's programmes or allow no food advertising or vending machines in school.
As well as removing vending machines selling high sugar drinks, and introducing healthy eating policies in all school canteens, we want nutrition education taught in all schools along with practical cooking skills.
Parents from around the country, including some from the Parents' Centre, the Mäori Women's Welfare League and the Safe Food Campaign are providing a 'Parent's Jury' to nominate food products and manufacturers in each of our award categories. Once we've got three nominations in each category, the awards will be opened to the public to vote for the winners in each category.
Pester Power Award
For the company with the most manipulative marketing ploy to seduce children into wanting its products - for example, collectable toys, contests, catchy jingles or using sport, music and film heroes to promote unhealthy fatty, sugary, additive-laden or salty food.
Advertising Assault Award
For a television advertisement targeted at children and young adolescents that aims to persuade them to eat unhealthy, fatty, sugary, additive-laden or salty food.
Trojan Horse Award
For an insidious advertising campaign that craftily pushes sugary, salty, additive-laden and fatty foods and drinks into schools.
Fancy Dress Award
For the worst packaging of a food product high in sugar, fat, salt or additives and that is obviously designed to win the hearts of children, enlisting them as sales agents to pester their parents to buy it.
Tempting Tots Award
For a food snack loaded with additives, high in sugar, salt or fat that's been shaped and coloured specifically to appeal to young children.
Cleanest Greenest Food
For a food product that is healthy, locally produced and doesn't need advertising ploys to convince your children to eat it.
Kids Not Consumers Award
Certificates will be awarded to schools or pre-schools that don't allow vending machines in schools or food companies to market their products in classrooms or playgrounds and actively embrace healthy eating policies in school canteens and classrooms. Nominations please!
Roll of Honour
For schools that only market and sell healthy food to children. We will put schools you nominate for the Kids Not Consumers Award onto our roll of honour after the judges have evaluated their advertising, fundraising and food policies.
Cleaning up the food Chain Award or the Most Improved Award
For a food company that's making an effort to improve the nutritional value of the food products it markets to children.
Why children are most at risk from the marketing of unhealthy food
Studies have shown that food advertising strongly influences children's food preferences and that bad eating habits, formed in childhood, may contribute to a lifetime of ill health.
Yet the food industry spends billions trying to sell unhealthy food to children, and food advertising is by far the largest category of advertising during children's TV viewing times. More than half of all food advertising is for confectionary, pre-sweetened breakfast cereals and fast food restaurants. The World Health Organisation estimates that for every $1 it spends trying to improve the nutrition of the world's population, $500 is spent by the food industry promoting processed food.
The problem is that children are by nature more trusting, less cynical and discerning than adults, which makes them an easy target for advertisers. They have difficulty distinguishing between advertising and programming and most don't fully understand the purpose of advertising until they are about 12 years old.
Advertisers know this and some companies now specialise in marketing products to children, employing top psychologists to devise techniques which help them activate their pester power.
This should not be allowed because unhealthy food targeted at children is fuelling a childhood obesity epidemic! Our children are literally eating themselves into an early grave. The Ministry of Health's 2002 National Children's Nutrition Survey of 3,275 five to 14-year-old New Zealand children found that 31 percent were either overweight or obese. The Ministry estimates a staggering 11,000 New Zealanders die each year from poor nutrition and inactivity.