Countermarketing Hub
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Countermarketing FAQs

What is food countermarketing?

Food countermarketing is defined as activities that decrease the consumption of unhealthy food and beverages. Food countermarketing activities go against or oppose the marketing of unhealthy products.

Unlike traditional health education, which often tells you what not to do, food countermarketing urges the public not to be deceived by junk food marketers who relentlessly market unhealthful products.

Why is countermarketing unhealthy food a useful tool to fight back against unhealthy marketing and to encourage healthier eating behaviors?

Please read our policy brief Countermarketing Unhealthy Food: Lessons from Tobacco to find out why.

Where can I find research on countermarketing?

Please refer to the “Educational and Teaching Resources” page.

What are some organizations that are doing countermarketing work?

California

  • Public Health Advocates

  • Youth Speaks

New York

  • ACDP @ PS 48

  • Bronx Health Reach

  • Bronx Helpers Program @ New Settlement Apartments

  • City Harvest

  • CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute

  • GrowNYC

  • NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

  • Mary Mitchell Family & Youth Center

Washington DC

  • Center for Science in the Public Interest

Maryland

  • Howard County Unsweetened

United Kingdom

  • Food Active

If your organization does countermarketing work and would like to be added to the list, please email us at UrbanFoodPolicy@sph.cuny.edu.

What is a Big Food Company?

Big Food Companies are usually multinational food and beverage companies with huge and concentrated market power. They are also the primary producers of ultra-processed foods high in fat, salt, and sugar.

How can I launch a countermarketing initiative?

Please check the “Educational and Teaching Resources” section for information on how you can launch a countermarketing initiative.

What are some resources that be used to teach about countermarketing?

We have free teaching resources available on our website. You can access them here.

Why are youth the main target of your countermarketing initiatives?

Youth are the main targets of our countermarketing initiatives because junk foods are marketed to them the most—especially African-American and Latino youth. In addition, as has been shown with tobacco, the best messengers to reach youth are their own youth peers. That is why our YOFE trainings focus on this most effective means of health communications. With our countermarketing initiatives, we aim to raise awareness among youth, and give them a voice to fight back against predatory junk food marketing.

How can I support countermarketing initiatives or take action?

Find a local organization that is doing countermarketing work and get involved. Use and bring awareness to your city officials.