How Fast-Food Marketing Gets You to Buy Junk (and how to fight back)
by Andrea Curtis
illustrated by Peggy Collins
Red Deer Press, 2018
ISBN 978-0-88995-532-5 (sc)
$16.95, 36 pp, ages 9 – 14
This book investigates how the fast-food industry successfully markets unhealthy products around the globe. It explains to young readers what marketing techniques are, and it also seeks to promote knowledge about the nature of fast-food. Eat This! explains the phenomenon of product placement in television shows, video games, and movies, shows how “kidvertising” of appealing mascots or “whacky” new fast-foods is directly aimed at young people who are prone
to virally share such things on social media, and discusses how savvy marketers use cash-strapped public schools to promote their products via “donut day” fundraisers or by creating free curriculum materials promoting their products. The book will certainly serve as an eye-opener for many readers who may not have thought about the impact of fast-food related pollution on the planet, or the long-term personal health consequences of a diet “that can make you very, very ill.” Curtis and Collins have collaborated on a useful resource that explains several pressing issues and offers some intriguing solutions (e.g., banning special meals with toys aimed at children as some jurisdictions have done, encouraging “junk free” check outs at supermarkets, and encouraging consumers to push for changes to the current food system).
Classroom Connections: There is a teacher’s guide available for free online. It lists curriculum connections for social studies, media literacy, health and physical education, visual arts, and environmental education. There are also discussion questions, four lesson/unit plans, links to related resources, and bonus activities. The book itself has a “Do This” section near the end which has more than a dozen suggested activities, including performing litter audits at school, launching letter writing campaigns to board officials, and learning to compare nutrition labels on various products.
Review by George Sheppard.
This review appears in the Fall 2020 issue of Canadian Teacher Magazine.