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Germany

Food Companies Luring Kids Online With Toys And Free Games

DIE WELT (Germany)

Worldcrunch

The Verbraucherzentrale Hamburg, a Hamburg-based consumer association, has accused food company of marketing scams, particularly free online games for children, reports Die Welt.

"Many parents have complained about the games, which are usually on sites advertising very sugary and high fat products," says the organization’s nutrition expert Silke Schwartau. "Unlike adults, children cannot make the distinction between marketing and information and are therefore particularly vulnerable to such advertising attacks."

The association studied ten online games and found that not only did many sites require children to leave personal data (age, name) but product calorie counts given were often based on unrealistically small servings.

It rated the games of popular German products like Pombär Chips (Intersnack), Leibniz Zoo-Keksen (Bahlsen) and Kinder Surprise eggs (Ferrero) as having the highest “kid entrapment” potential, but also criticized those of Nesquick maker Nestlé, Fruchtzwerge (“fruit dwarfs”, a yoghurt product for kids) from Danone, Coco Pops (Kellogg's), and Foods Capri Sun fruit drinks and Milka chocolate (Kraft).

In view of the rapidly increasing number of free online games out there, Schwartau supports banning this type of marketing to children. So far however, neither the German Advertising Council or industry product stewardship agreements have made any headway in stemming the trend.

Before free online games.... another kind of marketing:

The ad says: "Give a Kinder surprise and become everyone's favorite uncle." Photo Kinder

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