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Progress in Preventing Childhood Obesity: How Do We Measure Up?
food and beverage marketplace expenditures, estimated that in 2005, total food and beverage sales in the United States were $1.023 trillion. The growth in food expenditures has been steady since 1967, with a growth of nearly 6.4 percent per year (ERS/USDA, 2006).4 Between 1987 and 2001 there was also considerable growth in the industries associated with leisure and recreation (e.g., sporting goods, spectator sports, and entertainment) (Sturm, 2004), but the committee was unable to find recent data that accurately quantified the total expenditures made by these industries.
In 2004, marketing expenditures for all products—including food, beverages, and other manufactured items—totaled $264 billion, which included $141 billion for advertising in measured media5 (Brown et al., 2005). The IOM Committee on Food Marketing and the Diets of Children and Youth found that corporations spent more than $10 billion in 2004 to advertise foods, beverages, and meals to children and youth, of which $5 billion of the total was for television advertising (IOM, 2006). The total advertising spending by companies in measured media for selected categories of products was used to approximate the amount spent by the food, beverage, and restaurant industries in 2004. An estimated $6.84 billion was spent on advertising in the food, beverage, and candy category and $4.42 billion was spent on advertising for restaurants and fast food, for a total of $11.26 billion. An additional $10.89 billion was spent on advertising for toys and games; sporting goods; media; and sedentary entertainment, including movies, DVDs, and music (Brown et al., 2005). Company data on how marketing budgets are allocated are often proprietary, however, and are thus not available to the public. Therefore, industry data that can be used to assess recent investments in healthful products are not widely available. As discussed later in the chapter, despite the high level of product innovation toward healthier choices that has been forecasted by industry analysts, most companies do not provide publicly accessible information on the investments that they make in research and development on healthier products (Lang et al., 2006). Furthermore, there is currently limited evidence that companies with product portfolios comprised largely of less healthful products are merging with or acquiring companies with healthier products (Insight Investment, 2006).
The USDA differentiates food sales from food expenditures. The latter includes noncash sales in the Economic Research Service food expenditure series. The Bureau of Labor Statistics Consumer Price Index for Food grew at a rate of 4.6 percent from 1967 to 2005 so more than half of the growth in food sales was due to higher retail prices (ERS/USDA, 2006).
Measured media represent the categories of media tracked by media research companies, including television (e.g., major networks; national spots; and cable, syndicated, and Spanish-language networks), radio (e.g., network, national spot, and local radio), magazines (e.g., local and Sunday magazines), business publications, newspapers (e.g., local and national newspapers), outdoor advertising, direct mail, telephone directory advertising, and the Internet.