Researchers used data from the Nielsen Company to study cereal purchases by U.S. households over the course of a year. They looked at purchases by households with and without children and analyzed the families’ race, ethnicity, and income. Each cereal was given a score for its nutritional quality, whether it was advertised on TV, and who the advertising targeted.
Although cereal purchases were lowest in African-American households, the African-American homes were more likely to buy cereals that were advertised to children, which were among the least nutritious cereals. The authors also found that on average, all households studied purchased cereals advertised directly to children 13 times more frequently than non-advertised products.
The full study, co-authored by Katia Castetbon, Jennifer Harris, and Marlene Schwartz, is available here until the end of January.