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Journal of Environmental and Public Health
Volume 2013, Article ID 674181, 8 pages
Research Article

Food Marketing Targeting Youth and Families: What Do We Know about Stores Where Moms Actually Shop?

1Division of Nutritional Sciences, Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, 1206 S. Fourth Street, 2019 Huff Hall, Champaign, IL 61821, USA
2Department of Kinesiology and Community Health, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, IL 61821, USA

Received 3 May 2013; Revised 6 August 2013; Accepted 11 August 2013

Academic Editor: Linda M. Gerber

Copyright © 2013 Diana S. Grigsby-Toussaint and Mary R. Rooney. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Although efforts are underway to examine marketing that targets the youth and families in the retail food store environment, few studies have specifically focused on stores that families identify as their primary sites for food shopping. Between November 2011 and April 2012, we examined the frequency and types of marketing techniques of 114 packaged and nonpackaged items in 24 food stores that mothers of young children in Champaign County, IL, said they commonly frequented. Chi-square tests were used to determine whether significant differences existed between items with regard to marketing by store type, store food-assistance-program acceptance (i.e., WIC), and claims. Overall, stores accepting WIC and convenience stores had higher frequencies of marketing compared to non-WIC and grocery stores. Fruits and vegetables had the lowest frequency of any marketing claim, while salty snacks and soda had the highest frequency of marketing claims. Nutrition claims were the most common across all items, followed by taste, suggested use, fun, and convenience. Television tie-ins and cartoons were observed more often than movie tie-ins and giveaways. Our results suggest an opportunity to promote healthful items more efficiently by focusing efforts on stores where mothers actually shop.