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EMAC 2021 Annual Conference

Digital Food Marketing to Children: How an Influencer’s Lifestyle Can Stimulate Healthy Food Choice among Children

Published: May 25, 2021


Steffi De Jans, Ghent University; Ines Spielvogel, University of Vienna; Brigitte Naderer, LMU Munich; Liselot Hudders, Ghent University


This article reports the results of an experiment that investigates how influencer marketing on Instagram can be deployed to stimulate healthy eating among children. In particular, the study examines whether signaling a healthy, athletic lifestyle can affect children’s healthy snack choice (i.e., choice for a snack high in nutritional value). To do so, a two (influencer lifestyle: sedentary versus athletic) by two (snack type: low versus high in nutritional value) between-subjects experiment was conducted among 190 children (8-12 years). The results show that promoting a sedentary lifestyle (compared to an athletic lifestyle) results in a higher choice for the product high in nutritional value. In addition, children’s healthy snack choice was higher when an influencer with a sedentary lifestyle (compared to an athletic lifestyle) promotes a product low in nutritional value. Finally, the study showed that the influencer was admired less when (s)he portrayed a sedentary lifestyle.