Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) is an advertising platform most widely used by the junk food companies. This plays a major role in influencing the food preferences of kids, teens and the youth. A recent study indicates that the junk food is being marketed to the teenagers by the social media websites in a significant manner.

High engagement among Facebook users

Social media sites were marketing food that was poor in nutritional content, and an analysis of this was conducted by the researchers from University of Sydney in Australia. As many as 27 major brands in the food and beverage industry were chosen for the study, and their Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) pages were given a look. It was found that the young adults and teenagers were the most likely to get attracted on social media sites towards those foods that are low on nutritional content and also energy-dense. Facebook users, who were highly engaged with unhealthy food firms, were more interested in sharing the company content on their FB pages revealed the study.

“The engagement from Facebook users was high when these food companies ran contests or competitions or associated their products with positive events,” said lead researcher Becky Freeman.

The study lasted for one month, and it was found that the Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) pages of fast-food brands generated more than 13 million likes from the Australians. More than one million Australian likes were attracted by the Bubble O’Bill Ice Cream, and this ice-cream made by Streets was the most popular of all the pages. Maltesers Australia, Cold Rock Ice Creamery, Slurpee Australia, Subway Australia and Coca-Cola Australia were found to be the most popular pages among the teens aged 13 to 17.

Ubiquitous presence of food and beverage marketing

Food brands that sell energy-dense and nutrient-poor food try to market their products by making use of interactive and social aspects of Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB). The researchers said in their conclusion that food brands tried to capitalize on the social networks of their users to expand their reach. The study was published in the American Journal of Public Health.

The brand owner of the company or an authorized agency was entrusted with the responsibility of administering the pages. For promoting the products, majority of brand pages relied on using established sportspeople, celebrities, and the licensed characters that were popular among the children.

Food and beverage marketing is present ubiquitously and this is the prime factor behind the rise in obesity as informed by the Lead author Dr Becky Freeman, of the University’s school of public health.