New British research suggests that junk-food companies really don’t have kids’ best interests in mind, as they knowingly shill unhealthy eats to unsuspecting minors, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Groups like Kellogg’s and Cadbury try to lure kids into eating fatty, sugary snacks by setting up websites with video games and pairing cartoon characters with products, claims the British Heart Foundation and the Children’s Food Campaign, which conducted the research.
The companies have also taken to Facebook and Twitter — and sending email directly to kids — to attract underage customers, the newspaper reports.
In Britain, advertisements for these foods cannot run during children’s TV programming — but no law bars the conglomerates from marketing online.
The paper notes that some Britons want tighter regulation of these Internet adverts, since kids can’t tell whether they’re consuming ads.
Critics say these advertisements are designed too discreetely — so that youth often assume they’ve just stumbled upon online freebies.
Among the not-so-nutritious picks marketed on the sly: Krave cereal, Cheestrings, Nesquik, Sugar Puffs, Capri-Sun, Rowntree, Chupa Chups, and Cadbury Buttons, the Telegraph reports.