In this study, researchers analyzed content posted by six of Germany’s most popular influencers across Instagram, YouTube, and other platforms.
Social media has evolved into a significant source of entertainment and information. Our feeds are filled with various stories and posts that can keep us entertained for hours. We also have social media influencers. Social media has different influencer categories that impact our daily lives with different content. Food influencers are a popular category. These influencers’ content and messages can influence us consciously or subconsciously on everything from what to eat to where to eat. Did you know that they could be promoting unhealthy food and drinks? That is right. Recent research has shown that most food advertising by food influencers does not meet the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) standards for children. Researchers from the Medical University of Vienna conducted this study, which was presented to this year’s European Congress on Obesity in Maastricht.
In this study, researchers analyzed content posted by six of Germany’s most popular influencers across Instagram, YouTube, and other platforms. The researchers kept an eye on the food in their videos and posts. The majority of these influencers’ followers were teenagers aged 13-17. More than 35,000,000 people follow these influencers.
The study found that 75 percent had high salt, sugar, and fat levels. These foods are best avoided. The study states that “Chocolate, sweets and other products were most frequently featured by influencers. This highlights the urgent need for effective policies and regulation of influencer marketing towards children”.
Researchers raised concerns about the influencers’ power to influence children. How can we expect children to eat healthy when social media content is biased to promote high-fat, high-salt, and sugar foods?!
Further, they called for a reformation of policy and a holistic approach to the role of influencers in junk food marketing. It could help children avoid junk food and choose healthy lifestyles.