An investigation into fast food advertising and health consciousness in Ireland

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e Souza, Carlos
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MSc in Marketing
Dublin Business School
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This research aim to investigate the influence of fast food advertising and healthy consciousness in Ireland, offering guidance on how restaurants can enhance advertising strategy, in relation to: food-related behaviour, legislation and negative connotations of fast food. Poor-quality diet and low levels of physical activity are cause of many non-communicable diseases (Naughton, et al. 2015). In Ireland, the Department of Health approved the Code of Practice aiming to reduce population exposure to marketing initiatives relating to HFSS foods (Irish Department of Health, 2017). The research approach includes a review of relevant literature on fast food advertising and consumer behaviour, coupled with collection and analysis of empirical data. A questionnaire was carried out with 110 adults across four different age groups. Another questionnaire was sent to four fast food restaurants. Key findings: women in general; middle-age adults and older adults; and people with higher income showed significantly higher health consciousness; people with higher income had high assumption that healthy food is more expensive; taste was the most important factor when deciding for eating out; and advertisement of fast food did not appeal to potential customers of healthy fast food. The main conclusions: advertising of healthy fast food was not seen as a strong factor over people’s food choice, thus different adverting strategies should be taking into consideration due distinct behaviour between women and men, age groups and income. This dissertation recommends future research that consider: a bigger sample size (Ireland); the approach of focus groups (depth analysis); investigate the influence of television comparing to internet exposure on food choice; investigate the influence of healthy food advertising among families with kids and no kids; and study countries with distinct cultures and distinct income per capita (East and West Europe).