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The UA confirms that food advertising on television is based on health messages


Alicante, 5 December, 2013

Food advertising on television mainly uses health messages. A research work by the University of Alicante reveals this fact and provides evidence that market and health are closely linked. It also concludes that it would be necessary to rectify the limited existing legislation for the consumer protection in this area and recommends strengthening the European regulation governing this type of communications.

This analysis was prepared by the UA lecturer in Communication and Audio Visual Advertising, Cristina González Díaz and published in the latest issue of the International Journal of Communication Ámbitos. The author suggests doubts on whether consumers understand the effects of the product they are informed about or if they overvalue the intended benefits "crossing the dangerous barrier of conceiving them as a kind of preventive drug and not merely as healthy food”.

The author has analyzed a total of 407 advertisements of the ten types of foods with the highest number of advertising spots, all issued in public and private national channels: Tele 5 , Antena 3, Cuatro and La Sexta. The study reports that while the predominant health claim represents 37%, the second, taste, does not reach 20%. Others opt for discounts or convenience (such as frozen food), and candy for children relate to the entertainment and adventures. In turn, claims for health are based predominantly on the natural character of the ingredients, followed by their contribution to keep fit and help defenses. Cristina González highlights some contradictions, such as the case of a spot on a cream using its benefits in a diet. Also, she found that the type of food that tend to claim more healthy messages are yogurts and points out the exception of the advertising of chocolates that do not use the health claim.

As for the context in which the spot is developed, the author notes that "the presentation of a product by means of a character that speaks of the product characteristics is prevailing, ie, by a context and by extension, a rational nature message.On the other hand, the product is also presented in an emotional way by the protagonist: the character enjoys its consumption without taking into account its characteristics or benefits”. This line is predominant in yoghurts and dairy products.

This study reminds us that the investment in food advertising has grown steeply. The categories on which the analysis has been performed are: frozen and refrigerated food, cereals, chocolates, cocoa products, biscuits, bakery and pastry, yoghurt and fresh desserts, dairy products, meat, sweets and jellies.



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