Social marketing, parental purchasing decisions, and unhealthy food in developing countries: a Nigerian typology

Fraser McLeay, David Oglethorpe

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    Developing nations are emerging from food poverty and overcoming associated externalities such as malnutrition. However, there is a growing possibility that due to the globalization of food markets and widespread use of different marketing approaches, children immediately then become exposed to a new set of externalities associated with unhealthy food choices, such as obesity. In this article, we explore the relatively under-researched area of the influence that marketing and packaging may have on parents' food purchasing behaviour in developing countries. We present the results of a multivariate analysis of a survey of parents in Nigeria as a case study, exploring the characteristics and attitudes of parents to develop a typology of consumers whose young children may be at risk from eating unhealthy food. In addition, we consider the role that social marketing could play in encouraging segments of parents to purchase more healthy food for their children and changing children's purchasing behaviour. While older parents appear to be more susceptible to children's food purchasing requests, younger households appear to be vulnerable to forming unhealthy consumption habits, which could create further economic, social, and humanitarian development issues as countries try to raise national incomes. The importance of segmented social marketing and globalized versus local marketing differentiation is emphasized A social marketing approach may not only reduce worrying trends relating to childhood obesity but also play a role in reducing malnutrition, as it is important that corporations and governments ensure that developing nations do not emerge from one food-health crisis only to encounter another.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)232-242
    JournalJournal of Consumer Behaviour
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - May 2013


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