Fast Food Companies’ Racial Justice Claims and Unhealthy Targeted Marketing Practices – Connecticut by the Numbers

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“Most fast food restaurants in this analysis made statements supporting racial justice initiatives, including increased dialogue about racial discrimination. Some have gone further and pledged financial donations to racial justice and civil rights organizations, funded equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives, and changed internal practices to eradicate discrimination, hate and intolerance,” the report says. A few restaurants have promised to increase diverse representation in advertising.

Significantly, the report points out, “no statement addressed the core business models of companies, or the business determinants of health, that primarily drive unhealthy and cheap food and drink to increase profits. This disproportionate marketing of unhealthy, high-calorie products to black and brown communities fuels health inequities.

The report’s authors, Sally Mancini, MPH, Director of Advocacy Resources; Melissa McCann, MPH, research technician; and Jennifer Harris, PhD, MBA, Senior Research Advisor; note that “Targeting young people of color with calorie-dense, nutritionally-poor products can contribute to the financial success of fast food restaurants, but it can come at the expense of contributing to equitable health outcomes. Yet alongside their extensive targeted marketing of unhealthy foods, many fast food restaurants have publicly announced their support for communities of color or specific actions to increase racial justice and equity.

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