Our new research exposes how big food businesses are manipulating young people into believing their products are healthy — when really, they’re packed with salt, sugar or fat.
Claims like “no added sugar”, “contains fruit and veg”, or “high in fibre” makes us think a food is healthy — and they’re scarily effective. Half of teenagers say this type of claim makes them more likely to splash the cash! Yet many of these products would show a glaring red traffic light if their packaging was honest about what was really inside.
It should be easy to eat healthily, but it’s not. We’re being manipulated into eating junk, and we don’t even know it. This has to end.
Our research found smoothies, yoghurts and cereal bars are tricking us most — including loads from brands owned by Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s and Müller. Our research highlights just a few of their products that are making incredibly misleading claims. These three companies have huge influence which is why we're asking them to lead change, but they’ll only do it if their consumers demand it.
It’s time to tell them: #DontHideWhatsInside! Send an email demanding they stop claiming things are healthy, when they’re really not.
Mascots Anonymous shone a spotlight on the manipulative tactics companies use to con us into eating foods that are bad for our health, and great for their profits. But how powerful are these tactics really? Do they actually impact how we think and eat?
We’ve been working around the clock on new research to investigate — speaking to 1,000 young people aged 13-18 across the UK — and it turns out these manipulative tactics are so effective it’s scary!
We looked at the real ingredients of 500 products commonly consumed by teenagers, with health and nutrition claims in their marketing. Over half are high in either salt, saturated fat or sugar, and would get a red traffic light label. Smoothies, cereal bars and yoghurts were amongst the worst offenders. These products’ marketing tactics appear to be working with 1 in 2 saying they are influenced by health claims on products and 73% of teens believing they are eating healthily.
We simply want food and drink brands to be upfront and honest about the things they put inside their products. Read our full report and take action to pressure the food industry to prioritise child health!
“All of us have trust issues, but I didn’t expect to have trust issues with the food system too. Isn’t everyone tired of the lack of transparency and honesty in the food system?”
The story you’re about to watch is fiction, but the facts in it are all true. It should be easy to eat healthily — it isn’t.
The food system is rigged against us: flooding our screens and streets with junk food then using deliberately misleading tactics to con us into eating it.
Our message is simple: it’s time big business was honest and transparent about the food they sell. Yet right now, companies are exploiting huge loopholes in the laws controlling how food is branded and promoted.
Join us in sending a powerful message: #DontHideWhatsInside. It’s time to protect the health and futures of millions of young people.
We believe every young person deserves access to healthy, nutritious food — no matter where they live. We’re a youth-led movement fighting to make that world a reality.
From Christina Adane, the British teenager who mobilised half a million people to force the government to provide free school meals during the holidays, to Dev Sharma, the 16 year old who lobbied Boris Johnson to end all online advertising of junk food — we are here for every young person who wants to protect their own health and future.
We need you to back us up. Please join our movement, and we’ll use your voice to pressure big business and government to act urgently for child health.