A Historic Settlement

In late 2005, advocacy groups and parents prepared to sue Kellogg’s and Viacom (the owner of Nickelodeon) over the advertisement of foods with low nutritional value to children. (USA Today, “Nickelodeon, Kellogg Face Lawsuit,” 1-18-06 © AP 2005).

A year and a half later, Kellogg’s finally settles and agrees to increase their nutrition standards, stop advertising to children under 12, and stop using branded characters or toys to market to children. (Center for Science in the Public Interest, “Kellogg Makes Historic Settlement Agreement, Adopting Nutrition Standards For Marketing Foods To Children,” June 14, 2007.)

Some may see this threatened action on the same level as people suing McDonalds for selling them junk food.

This threatened action differs because the audience is young children, under 12, who can’t or won’t make good decisions in their eating. The advertisements are aimed at children, the placement of the cereals are right at eye level for children, and the use of branded characters on the boxes jumps out at children.

How much of this is the fault of Kellogg’s and how much is to blame on the parents? Should parents have better control over their children?