Stop the tax exemption for junk food marketing
In just one year, the food industry spent $13.4 billion on marketing—the majority of which was spent marketing unhealthy products. What’s worse, leading marketers like McDonald’s, Pepsi, and Coke disproportionately target Black and Latino/Hispanic children with marketing for junk food. In fact, two thirds of the TV ads seen by Hispanic and Black youth are for candy, gum, snack foods, sugary drinks, and restaurants, which is significantly higher than the amount of unhealthy food ads seen by their White peers.
It is no surprise that the state of global health is what it is today, with unconscionably high health disparities between White, and Black, Latino/Hispanic, and Indigenous communities. These health inequities are rooted in racist practices and policies including such target marketing.
But to make matters worse: all of these ad dollars are tax exempt under U.S. law. That’s $13.4 billion dollars that Big Business can churn back into more marketing and more harmful products.
Instead, getting rid of the deduction can generate about $550 million dollars, which can go towards critical public health needs like developing 11 million more COVID vaccines and funding the USDA’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Program for 2 years.
Marketing is one glaring way Big Food and other exploitative industries are perpetuating race inequities. We can take a major leap forward in reducing these inequities and having corporations pay for their harms by doing the common sense thing and ending this needless tax exemption.
Our message to Congress:
Reintroduce the Stop Subsidizing Childhood Obesity Act to end the tax exemption on junk food marketing to children and youth. Don’t let industry pressure deter what needs to get done to reduce health inequities today.