The growth of obese and overweight rate all over the world increased the global interest on the risk factors and the outcome of this problem, which represents nowadays a serious plague worldwide. Several factors are considered as possible causes of weight gain, and among these the influence of food advertising through TV and other mass media has come under scrutiny, especially because it seems to promote the consumption of energy dense foods by either stimulating hunger and/or encouraging children to consume the specific foods that are marketed. Branding is, in fact, a form of marketing aimed at promoting recognition with a company brand or product, in the hopes that children will form emotional attachments to these products and eventually be lifelong consumers. To understand the influence of food marketing on children diet, we developed the IBAI–International Brand Awareness Instrument- an age-appropriate instrument that uses twelve sheets with pictures of food logos to test children recall and recognition, suitable for ten countries (Italy, Germany, France, UK, Mexico, Georgia, India, Chile, Argentina and Brazil).
The 12 brands selected for each country belong to the groups of sweet/salted snack and soft drinks normally consumed by children. The whole instrument is characterized by twelve flash cards, each one is composed by some selected logo of the chosen brand, paired with 4 pictures of foods (only one of them is correctly matched with the logo). Each IBAI, suitable for the country of interest, is composed by both brands of international and local foods.
How does IBAI works?
Child has to answer to some questions (from one to three) for each flash card, in order to verify her/his knowledge about the brands and about the products associated: i) the food associated with the logo, ii) the name of the logo, iii) the name of the product. The question on the product’s name must be asked only if the child recognizes the correct product associated with the brand as illustrated in the figure below.
The development of instrument such as IBAI, specific for each country, might result very interesting in the analysis of the implication of food marketing on children’s diet and food choices.