Compare And Contrast The Marketing Of Healthy And Unhealthy Food Products In The Media , Consider Which Is More Successful , With Reason

Marketing Of Healthy And Unhealthy Food Products In The Media

Marketing plays a great role in ensuring the products of a business enterprise and the business itself is able to survive and grow in the industry. A proper marketing plan is essential for realization of survival, growth and revenue generation through product sales. The food industry is no exception to marketing requirements and as such depending on the kind of products, various marketing channels will appeal differently or similarly. Healthy and unhealthy foods is one of the category used to cluster food products in the market. Unhealthy foods also known as junk food refers to foods that are perceived to have little or no nutritional value and are also composed of ingredients that are considered unhealthy when consumed regularly or consumed at all. They are typically ready to eat foods containing high levels of sugar, salt or fats with little or no vegetable, fruit or dietary fiber. Health foods on the other side are those perceived to be full of nutrients and have little or no negative effects even if they are consumed over long periods of time (Lobstein, 2009). The current food market has availed both health and unhealthy foods at the convenience of the consumers but at different levels and prices.

Media serves as a great marketing platform for food products. Unhealthy and healthy foods marketing on the media may exhibit various results majorly because of the target reached when a given media platform is put in use. The 21st century avails additional media for marketing of healthy and unhealthy food products. Broadcast, print, digital and interactive and social media offer vast marketing opportunities for both foods but the effectiveness of each varies.


Both producers of healthy and unhealthy foods have a goal of reaching a large population at the same time. Broadcast media which encompasses radio and televisions is one such way of having access to a massive audience. The advantage of using broadcast media over other media such as digital and interactive media for marketing both types of foods is that one device receiving the broadcast can deliver to a number of people tuned to it. Broadcast media thus provides the better option for both products when they need to catch the attention of the general public either potential consumers or not.

The current generation is majorly comprised of the youth and computer literates. The use of social media for advertising through having accounts for these products is a similarity in the use of media. Both tend to increase effort in targeting the social media market which seemingly continues growing in the 21st century.

Print media such as newspapers and magazines are more convenient than broadcast media when a producer aims to target a given specific group of consumers. Most existing print media are accessed by the older generation especially the middle and upper class. These audiences pay attention to food in terms of how fast they are available and their health benefits.  This therefore means both health and unhealthy foods find print media marketing appealing to them

The dynamics of the current market demand that producers make effort towards meeting specific demands of the consumers on various aspects notably in the ingredient content of the foods. Websites and emails enable both producers of the two different categories of food to know what an individual consumer wants and customize the products in order to address those needs (Sonnenberg et al, 2013).


When using marketing media, healthy foods are legally appeal when advertised on various media because of the whole family nature they take. They can market while both adult and children programs are being aired. In print media, restrictions do not exist for healthy foods even in children magazines and articles. Some unhealthy foods are not appealing or are barred from being market during certain while certain programs are being aired especially those that appeal to children. Alcoholic and carbonated beverages are classified under unhealthy foods. Alcoholic drinks for example cannot be market while a program that targets children is being aired. In some cases, the restriction lies on the number of times marketing of unhealthy foods during children products should occur. On the basis of broadcast marketing restrictions, broadcast media serves the healthy foods marketers better (Galbraith‐Emami,  & Lobstein, 2013).

Age creates another dimension which is the preference for either types of foods. This in turn dictates how either food types enjoy success in the use of different marketing media. Unhealthy foods are commonly associated with the young generation while the healthy foods are closely related to be preferred by the older generation. While the youth continuously access social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, the elderly generation is more inclined to access broadcast and print media as their sources of information (Louis et al, 2007). This therefore, means that healthy foods can thrive better when marketing through broadcast and broadcast media with unhealthy foods enjoying success in use of social and interactive/digital media on the other hand (Roberts & Foehr, 2008).

The 21st century experiences an exhibition of relatively high consumer awareness that is either voluntarily invoked or comes as a result of regulations demanding that information on the ingredients of products be provided by the producers. This is attributed to the increased consumer protection and health dynamics such as diabetes and allergies. In most instances healthy foods have a lot of information to offer in terms of ingredients because of their nutritional compositions. This therefore makes it more successful using print, broadcast and interactive and digital media when marketing healthy foods. Unhealthy foods on the other hand relay short information usually of the major component of the product with such advertisements being short and cheap. For consumers who are information sensitive, media that can comfortably accommodate detailed information such as print and broadcast do not appeal to unhealthy food marketers (Sonnenberg et al, 2013).

Unlike print and digital/interactive media broadcast and social media appeals to busy people (Roberts & Foehr, 2008). These are basically people who find little time within their schedules to catch up with the current issues and even their meals. Short advertisements are on broadcast and social media captures their attention more. Unhealthy foods meet the cut point of fast convenient foods and those that can form the shortest form of advertisements. For this reasons they make better marketing utility of media that is frequently accessed by busy individuals such as broadcast and social media.

The success of marketing healthy and unhealthy foods depends greatly on the target market and the media used to have access to them. Even though unhealthy foods account for most of the marketing advertisements on various media, the success is enjoyed by quite a few of the products such as beverages. The current market is moving ore towards health awareness and people are creating more time to make informed decisions on what they consume (Sonnenberg et al, 2013). This changes in the food market places a number of encumbrances on the platforms for marketing junk foods. Media marketing is more successful for healthy foods compared to unhealthy foods because of their appealing nature and universality.


Galbraith‐Emami, S., & Lobstein, T. (2013). The impact of initiatives to limit the advertising of food and beverage products to children: a systematic review. Obesity Reviews, 14(12), 960-974.

Lobstein, T., & Davies, S. (2009). Defining and labelling ‘healthy’and ‘unhealthy’food. Public health nutrition, 12(03), 331-340.

Louis, W., Davies, S., Smith, J., & Terry, D. (2007). Pizza and pop and the student identity: The role of referent group norms in healthy and unhealthy eating. The Journal of social psychology, 147(1), 57-74.

Roberts, D. F., & Foehr, U. G. (2008). Trends in media use. The future of children, 18(1), 11-37.

Sonnenberg, L., Gelsomin, E., Levy, D. E., Riis, J., Barraclough, S., & Thorndike, A. N. (2013). A traffic light food labeling intervention increases consumer awareness of health and healthy choices at the point-of-purchase. Preventive medicine, 57(4), 253-257.

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