Food Marketing in an Obesogenic Environment: a Narrative Overview of the Potential of Healthy Food Promotion to Children and Adults

Frans Folkvord*, Roel Hermans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Purpose of ReviewThere is abundant evidence that food marketing influences children's and adults' food preferences and consumption. As such, exposure to unhealthy food marketing is a widely acknowledged risk factor contributing to the development of overweight and obesity. Less is known about the effects of healthy food promotion on people's dietary behavior. This narrative review describes research from the past 5 years focused on the effects of healthy food marketing on children's and adults' food preferences and dietary intake. Our aim is to gain insight into the potential effects and mechanistic underpinnings of healthy food promotion, thereby building on existing knowledge on underlying mechanisms of the effectiveness of unhealthy food marketing.Recent FindingsOnly a small number of studies directly examined the effects of healthy food promotion on children's and adults' dietary behavior. Most studies targeted children's fruit and/or vegetable intake and used a variety of marketing techniques, ranging from television adverts to social media influencer marketing. Six out of ten studies found a positive effect of healthy food promotion, indicating that healthy food marketing has the potential to influence dietary behavior.SummaryFood marketing is highly effective in stimulating and reinforcing food consumption, in particular for energy-dense foods. Further investigation and experimentation into the efficiency and effectiveness of healthy food promotion are needed to determine how marketing techniques could be used to improve dietary behavior. The healthy food promotion model provides a framework for future research in this area.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-436
Number of pages6
JournalCurrent Addiction Reports
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Food marketing
  • Overweight
  • Chronic diseases
  • Healthy food promotion
  • CUES
  • TV

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