McDonald’s targets kids in lower-income countries with social media posts, study finds

McDonald’s is concentrating on youth with social media advertising and marketing posts in some countries globally, in response to a brand new study. File picture by Jim Ruymen/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 21 (UPI) — Fast-food chain McDonald’s could also be concentrating on kids in decrease middle-income countries globally with advertising and marketing messages, probably worsening weight loss plan issues in a number of the world’s most susceptible populations, an evaluation printed Tuesday by the journal BMJ Nutrition Prevention and Health discovered.
The evaluation of the chain’s social media posts, promoting and promotional campaigns reveals that extra Instagram posts, value promotions and child-friendly advertising and marketing targets youthful shoppers in these countries than these in wealthier nations, the researchers stated.

McDonald’s created 154% extra advertising and marketing posts in decrease middle-income countries than in higher-income countries, the info confirmed.
In addition, whereas about one in 5 firm social media posts in lower-middle revenue countries was child-friendly, in comparison with about one in eight in high-income countries, in response to the researchers.

With entry to wholesome, nutritious meals choices already a problem in many of those countries, the youth-focused advertising and marketing techniques might worsen current public well being issues there, they stated.

“This is a crucial and well timed evaluation, as a result of we’re starting to achieve insights into ‘entire methods’ determinants of meals decisions, which embody meals manufacturing, meals provide and the meals setting,” diet advocate Sumantra Ray stated in a press launch.
“This study presents early, however essential, insights into the influence of promoting, a comparatively uncared for space of dietary analysis,” stated Ray, govt director of the NNEdPro Global Center for Nutrition and Health in the United Kingdom, who was not a part of the analysis crew.

McDonald’s is the biggest fast-food firm in the world, and it operates greater than 36,000 eating places in 101 countries, together with greater than 14,000 in the United States, in response to trade information.
The firm didn’t return a request for touch upon the findings.
However, in an annual report submitting with the Securities and Exchange Commission, McDonald’s stated that client notion of its “model worth” are “affected by … the dietary content material and preparation of our meals, the components we use, the style in which we supply commodities and our basic enterprise practices.”
In addition, “client perceptions can also be affected by antagonistic commentary from third events, together with by means of social media or typical media retailers,” it stated.

For this study, the researchers from New York University’s School of Global Public Health analyzed the corporate’s posts on one of many world’s hottest social media platforms, Instagram, in 15 high-income, upper-middle-income and lower-middle-income countries, as outlined by the World Bank.
The 15 countries included in the evaluation had been the United States, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Lebanon, Malaysia, Panama, Portugal, Romania, South Africa and United Arab Emirates.
The researchers took screenshots of all Instagram posts on the corporate’s accounts in these countries between September and December 2019, and added the variety of followers, “likes,” feedback and video views related with every account, they stated.
The 15 accounts maintained a complete of 10 million followers and generated 3.9 million “likes,” 164,816 feedback and 38.2 million video views, the info confirmed.
Consumers in lower-middle-income countries akin to Egypt, India and Indonesia noticed a mean of 108 advertising and marketing posts throughout the four-month study interval, the researchers stated.
Meanwhile, these in higher-income countries, together with the United States, Australia, Britain, Canada, Panama, Portugal and the United Arab Emirates, noticed a mean of 43 throughout the identical interval, in response to the researchers.
Five p.c of the corporate’s Instagram posts in high-income countries depicted wholesome habits, whereas about 3% of these in higher middle-income countries and decrease middle-income countries did so, the info confirmed.

In addition, 14% of McDonald’s posts in high-income countries included value promotions and free giveaways, in comparison with 40% in lower-middle-income countries, the researchers stated.
“As social media use grows, quick meals firms’ social media advertisements might have unprecedented results on dietary choices, particularly in lower-income countries,” the researchers wrote.
“By concentrating on sure subsets by means of child-targeted advertisements and value promotions, McDonald’s social media advertisements might exacerbate healthcare points in probably the most susceptible countries in the world,” they stated.

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