With the global obesity epidemic becoming an increasingly critical issue for brands, we took a look at the US and UK obesity debates over the past 12 months to analyse the impact of obesity-related issues on businesses across a range of industries. Here are a few of our findings:
What is driving the debate?
The US and UK obesity debates are generally reactive, with spikes in the debate driven by events such as the Olympics, which led to criticism for McDonald’s, Cadbury and Coca-Cola over their sponsorship of the games, or campaigns such as the supersize soda ban in the US.
The primary issues currently driving the obesity debate in the UK are hot topics such as childhood obesity and the recently-proposed sugary cereal ban, while weight-loss reality TV show The Biggest Loser is currently the top debate driver in the US.
Largest brands attract most negative perception
McDonald’s and Coca-Cola are synonymous with fast food and sugary drinks within the global debate, receiving significantly more negative attention than competitors such as Subway and PepsiCo.
However, PepsiCo saw a spike in negative attention in December and January, driven by criticism surrounding the appropriateness of Beyonce’s sponsorship deal with Pepsi.
Cereals - US vs. UK perception
When it comes to cereal brands, Nestle dominates the share of negative attention within US debate in comparison with Kellogg’s. However, the reverse is true within the UK debate, giving the companies different reputation profiles across these regions.
However, the recently-proposed sugary cereal ban has driven additional negative sentiment towards Kellogg’s cereal products in the UK, with Frosties singled out by shadow health secretary Andy Burnham for its high sugar content. General Mills’ Sugar Puffs product and Kellogg’s Special K are also strongly associated with obesity, receiving high levels of negative attention.
UK supermarket brands
Over the past 12 months, Tesco is the supermarket most associated with obesity in the UK. However, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and ASDA received a positive sentiment boost between November and December 2012 as the result of research suggesting that supermarket ready meals are more healthy than recipes from celebrity chefs such as Jamie Oliver Nigella Lawson.
Please get in touch if you would like a more detailed breakdown of the key issues, brands, sentiment and emerging trends within the obesity debate.