Tags: KraftHeinz | Advertising | Watchdog | Complaint

Watchdog Group Reports Kraft Heinz for Disparaging Healthy Foods in Ads

Watchdog Group Reports Kraft Heinz for Disparaging Healthy Foods in Ads
( Said Khatib/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 24 March 2021 05:15 PM

A consumer watchdog organization has reported Kraft Heinz to the Better Business Bureau due to their advertisements, which the group argues violates the bureau’s guidelines for ads on children’s networks.

In a press release, The Center for Science in the Public Interest said: “Kraft Heinz is disparaging healthy foods like broccoli, salmon, and tofu in advertising for its Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and other products—and it has done so on children’s television programming, according to a complaint filed today by the Center for Science in the Public Interest with the Better Business Bureau’s Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU).”

The group notes that “Kraft Heinz violated these guidelines on multiple occasions by airing an advertisement that disparages vegetables while encouraging consumption of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. This ad, where a caregiver tries to encourage a child to have ‘one more bite’ of vegetables, while the child runs away yelling, ‘no,’ was repeatedly aired during children’s programming on Disney XD, Nickelodeon, and Cartoon Network in 2019. Today, CSPI filed a formal complaint and a letter with CARU urging them to take action against Kraft Heinz for this violation.”

CARU’s guidelines state that “Advertising of food products should encourage responsible use of the product with a view toward healthy development of the child. For example, advertising of food products should not discourage or disparage healthy lifestyle choices or the consumption of fruits or vegetables.”

CSPI did write in the press release that “While Kraft Heinz is no longer airing this particular advertisement on children’s television, disparagement of healthy foods continues to be a theme in the company's advertising. A campaign for the company’s Ore-Ida french fries encourages caregivers to bribe their children with french fries in order to get them to eat healthy foods. A video advertisement for this campaign shows a child pushing away a plate of broccoli, calling it ‘disgusting.’”

The group also notes that the Kraft Heinz website for its campaign previously included a “chart showing how much each healthy food was worth in french fries,” and that it released a print ad “for Kraft shredded cheese, part of the same ‘for the win win’ campaign as the Kraft Macaroni & Cheese commercial, encouraged viewers to use their products to make broccoli taste ‘less broccoli-ey.’”

Sara Ribakove, CSPI senior policy associate, said in a statement that “Disparagement of healthy foods in advertising reinforces children’s beliefs that healthy foods do not taste good and should be avoided. Reinforcement of this belief in childhood can lead to negative beliefs about certain foods and poor eating habits later in life.”

The organization previously wrote to Kraft Heinz about this topic last November, but the company said in their reply that they found no fault in their advertising, though they did say that some of the campaigns mentioned would be ending and removed from circulation in the second half of this year.

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A consumer watchdog organization has reported Kraft Heinz to the Better Business Bureau due to their advertisements...
KraftHeinz, Advertising, Watchdog, Complaint
Wednesday, 24 March 2021 05:15 PM
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