Tags: soda | marketing | timing | food stamps | distribution

Soda Ads Timed for Food Stamps Distribution?

Soda Ads Timed for Food Stamps Distribution?
(Dreamstime)

By    |   Friday, 08 June 2018 12:26 PM

Soda ads reportedly are being timed for when food stamps are distributed, suggested a  study that found stores in New York were more than four times likely to have soda marketing displays during the first nine days of the month.

CBS News reported the finding could explain why poor Americans consume more soda products than those with higher incomes.

According to a study expected to be published by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the ramp up in soda marketing happens when food stamps are distributed and their recipients are shopping for items.

Report author Alyssa Moran, an assistant professor of health and social policy at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, told CBS News the study found that areas with few people on food stamps didn’t see the same increase in soda marketing early in the month.

The Washington Post reported the study is the first to connect food advertising patterns with the distribution of federal Supplemental Assistance Food Program, or SNAP, benefits. Stores tend to see higher traffic over the first nine days because many recipients tend to use those funds within a week after receiving the benefits.

"People will argue that individuals are ultimately responsible for their choices, but we know that the environment in which we make choices matters," Moran told the Post. "This study is another example of industry targeting sugary beverage marketing toward lower income families."

Moran added, though, that the study's data from New York stores may differ in other states and the research cannot determined if grocery stores or soda producers are to blame on the increase.

"I've (done) … a lot of work with retailers, and I know that retailers are very attuned to when households receive benefits," Moran told the Post. "When you think about it, it makes a lot of sense: If you operate in a state where everyone receives benefits on the same day, there's a huge financial incentive on that day to heavily market popular items."

The American Beverage Association pointed out to CBS that the study's data from 2011 does not cover recent changes made by drink companies, suggesting that the outcomes are not up to date.

"(Beverage makers) have taken substantive actions to encourage consumers to reduce the sugar they get from beverages, including offering more low- and zero-calorie options and smaller package sizes," the trade organization that represents the beverage industry in the United States told CBS News.

The Food Marketing Institute, a trade group that represents retailers, told CBS that targeting food-stamp recipients with soda ads "does not align with our philosophy."

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Soda ads reportedly are being timed for when food stamps are distributed, suggested a  study that found stores in New York were more than four times likely to have soda marketing displays during the first nine days of the month.
soda, marketing, timing, food stamps, distribution
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2018-26-08
Friday, 08 June 2018 12:26 PM
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