Global scoping review reports significant room to expand national restrictions on unhealthy food marketing & competitive food sales in schools

A new global review of school food policies published in Advances in Nutrition found that only 16% of countries worldwide have national policies restricting food marketing in schools, and only 25% have national policies restricting in-school sales of foods high in nutrients or ingredients of concern outside school meal programs. A mere 12% of countries […]

Combining food taxes and subsidies can lead to healthier grocery purchases for low-income households

A new study that models the combined effects of a sugar-based tax on beverages and targeted subsidies for minimally processed foods and drinks found that under these policies, low-income consumers would purchase less sugar-sweetened beverages and more fruits, vegetables, and healthier drinks, particularly in households without children.   Researchers from the Global Food Research Program […]

New study charts policy path to identifying ultra-processed foods and beverages high in nutrients of concern

A new study from researchers at the Global Food Research Program at UNC-Chapel Hill and The George Institute for Global Health provides guidance for policymakers on how to identify ultra-processed foods and beverages that are also high in salt, sugar, saturated fat, or calorie-dense for regulation. To date, food policies aimed at improving population nutrition […]

Ultra-processed products make up nearly half of low-income South African adults’ diets

Low-income South African adults consume, on average, 40% of their calories from ultra-processed products, according to a new study published this month in Public Health Nutrition. Meanwhile, only 7% meet the World Health Organization’s recommendations for daily fruit and vegetable intake, and only 19% meet fiber recommendations. Researchers at the University of the Western Cape […]

Price tag messaging can amplify the benefit of taxes

Researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill have found that combining taxes on sugary drinks with added messaging on price tags further discourages parents from wanting to buy sugary drinks for their children.  Currently, over 60 countries and smaller jurisdictions around the world have levied taxes on sugary drinks in an effort to curb their consumption, yet these beverages […]

Ultra-processed foods: a global threat to public health

We are pleased to share a major update to our fact sheet on ultra-processed foods. This resource explains what ultra-processed foods are, how consumption around the world has increased dramatically, the negative impacts their consumption can have on health and the environment, and policy approaches to curb their dominance in the food system. This fact […]

Randomized control trial shows promise for policies to reduce red meat purchases

Findings from a new study in PLOS Medicine conducted by researchers from UNC-Chapel Hill, Stanford University, and the University of Edinburgh indicate that warning label and tax policies effectively reduce purchases of red meat-containing items, such as burger patties, pepperoni pizza, and ham luncheon meat. Consumption of red meat has gained attention as a nutrition […]

Response to WHO guidelines on policies to protect children from the harmful impact of food marketing

In a new perspective piece in PLOS Medicine, Global Food Research Program researchers Barry Popkin and Francesca Dillman Carpentier and alum Fernanda Mediano Stoltze reflect on the recently released World Health Organization (WHO) guideline, “Policies to protect children from the harmful impact of food marketing.” The authors highlight several strengths of the updated guidelines, which […]

Popkin featured in The Guardian

Barry Popkin was featured in The Guardian this week in an article about the rise of snacking and ultra-processed food consumption in African and Asian countries. He drew on his years of research on the Nutrition Transition, the rising double burden of malnutrition, and the global spread of ultra-processed foods.

Food ads reach children using emotional and rational appeals on Colombian TV

Research from Colombia that examined food advertising and marketing tactics used on television (TV) has found that children were frequently exposed to advertising that used emotional appeals such as characters, cartoons, games, or suggestions of fun or excitement to promote unhealthy foods. Girls were more likely than boys to see these emotional appeals, as were […]

2023 FERN fellows

The close of summer also marks the end of GFRP’s second year of the Fellowship for Exploring Research in Nutrition (FERN), a 9-week research internship for undergraduate students interested in food policy research. Over the course of the summer, the fellows built foundational research skills, attended professional development workshops, participated in GFRP team activities, assisted […]

Most South African breakfast cereal packages feature child-directed marketing

The majority of breakfast cereals in South Africa feature child-directed marketing strategies on their packaging, according to a new study in Public Health Nutrition. In an analysis of over 200 breakfast cereals, researchers also found that breakfast cereals with child-directed marketing contained significantly more total sugar and less fiber than cereals without child-directed marketing. South […]

Products changed, but not prices, under Chile’s Law of Food Labeling and Advertising

Despite extensive product reformulation after Chile began requiring warning labels on the front of less-healthy food and drink packages, Chilean consumers saw no significant change in food and beverage prices associated with the policy in the first year and a half. This was the main finding of a new study from researchers at Universidad Adolfo […]

Children in Chile saw 73% fewer TV ads for unhealthy foods and drinks following trailblazing marketing restrictions

Chilean policies aimed at reining in unhealthy food marketing are succeeding in protecting children from the onslaught of television advertisements (TV ads) for these products, according to new research. The country’s multi-phased regulations, which began in 2016, have led to a 73% drop in children’s exposure to TV ads for regulated foods and drinks (those […]

Beverage industry ad spend and airtimes in South Africa

A new study published in the Journal of Public Health Research has found that in South Africa, sugar-sweetened beverage manufacturers spent USD 191 million (ZAR 3.7 billion) advertising SSBs across different media from 2013 to 2019. The bulk of this was spent on television (TV) advertising, particularly during children’s and family viewing times. Researchers from […]

Taillie and Ammerman receive EPA grant to prevent household food waste

Lindsey Smith Taillie, Global Health Research Program faculty and UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (HPDP) research fellow, and Alice Ammerman, HPDP director and Mildred Kaufman Distinguished Professor of nutrition, have been awarded a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to research ways to help households better prevent food waste. The project […]

Doctoral students from Mexico tackle taxes and cartoon characters in an effort to fight obesity

The opportunity to make a broad impact on food policy is what drives both Claudia Nieto and Gabriela García, two PhD students from Mexico who are visiting scholars at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Global Food Research Program (GFRP) this year. Both Claudia and Gabriela are students at GFRP’s research partner National Institute of Public Health (INSP, Instituto […]

Over half of foods and beverages purchased by Americans contain technical food additives — a 10% increase since 2001

A new study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has found that 60% of foods purchased by Americans contain technical food additives such as coloring or flavoring agents, preservatives, or sweeteners. This represents a 10% increase since 2001. Manufacturers have also increased the average number of additives in purchased food and […]

After Chile’s labeling and marketing law, drink purchases contained less sugar and more non-nutritive sweeteners, but overall sweetness stayed the same

Two recent studies conducted by researchers from the Global Food Research Program at UNC-Chapel Hill and the University of Chile have found that in the first phase of Chile’s Law of Food Labeling and Advertising, consumers’ beverage purchases contained less sugar and more non-nutritive sweeteners (e.g., Aspartame, Stevia, or Sucralose), but overall beverage sweetness stayed […]

Peru’s healthy food and beverage policies found to have no negative impact on industry jobs, wages

A new study published this month in the journal Food Policy finds that Peru’s food and beverage industry experienced no significant job or wage losses after the country began taxing sugary drinks and putting warning labels on the front of unhealthy food and beverage packages prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Peruvian government implemented these […]