HEAL Platform for Real Food

The diet-related public health crisis we face can be counted in declining life expectancy and in dollars (for example, the U.S. spends $200 billion annually in obesity-related healthcare costs), but it will be experienced as the physical pain of heart disease and cancer, as limbs and eyesight lost to diabetes, and as family members who are missing from holiday tables. A driving factor is the ballooning omnipresence of junk food and junk food marketing.

Multinational food and beverage companies currently spend billions every year on marketing, including at least $2 billion in marketing directly to children. This marketing is everywhere, and disproportionately targets communities of color.

Regulations on such marketing is scant, and the food and beverage industry has long wielded its political power to fight any regulation. Simultaneously, the production of many of their ingredients, and even their marketing practices, is highly subsidized. Yet the highly-processed junk food and sugary drinks – so heavily promoted in communities of color and to children – are driving a public health crisis through an epidemic of diet-related chronic diseases.

The predatory marketing tactics that these companies use to target children and communities of color must be stopped. We also recognize that we need to work with international partners and fight for multilateral regulatory and policy solutions so that corporations don’t continue employing these practices with impunity outside our borders.

Our Solutions

  • Restore the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)’s jurisdiction to regulate the marketing of foods and beverages to children
  • End marketing of unhealthy food and food brands to children, including in schools
  • Treat junk food and beverage companies like tobacco companies: hold companies liable for health impacts, and include visible warning labels, restricted advertising, barriers to purchase, and taxes that are re-invested in community.
  • End subsidies for junk food marketing by closing the tax loophole that allows corporate write offs for marketing
  • Work with the World Health Organization to curtail the international expansion of the junk food industry