US FTC -firms spend less to pitch to kids, foods slightly better

WASHINGTON Fri Dec 21, 2012 11:38am EST

WASHINGTON Dec 21 (Reuters) - Food companies spent considerably less to advertise to children in 2009 than they did in 2006, although the foods that were pitched were only slightly more nutritious, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission said in a report out on Friday.

The FTC, in a survey of data from industry, found that companies spent $1.79 billion to advertise to children aged 2 to 17 in 2009, down almost 20 percent, on an inflation-adjusted basis, from $2.1 billion three years earlier.

But that drop came not because companies were advertising less, necessarily, but because they were switching from more expensive television advertising to online marketing, the FTC said.

The FTC also found "modest nutritional improvements" in the foods advertised to children, in categories including cereals, drinks and fast-food kid's meals.

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