KFC and a normal kid

During the week there was a bit of attention given to a sponsorship deal between Rugby League and KFC. Somehow this risked creating a generation of sedentary fast food addicts – despite the fact that KFC has a similar deal already with the Australian Rugby league.

Lizzie Marvelly: Sponsorship ruckus does a fat lot of good

The assertion by Consumer NZ Chief Executive Sue Chetwin that KFC’s sponsorship of the Rugby League World Cup is an attempt to target children so that they will “build up a lifelong addiction” to junk food seemed particularly overstated. It was certainly alarming enough to garner attention, but singling out sporting events sponsored by fast food companies as having a causative relationship with fast food addiction in children triggered my scepticism reflex.

As a child, I ate a reasonable amount of junk food. Most weeks there would be one night when I was allowed to choose between McDonalds, KFC and Georgie Pie for dinner. I also ate cake, biscuits, lollies, chips and many other things that would make some of today’s yummiest mummies gasp – alongside fruit, vegetables, meat, carbohydrates and dairy. Not a cacao or chia seed bliss ball in sight. Thank God.

Was I fat? Objectively, no (although I thought I was – thanks to the 90s obsession with heroin chic fashion and dieting fads). Did I develop a lifelong addiction to junk food? I couldn’t actually tell you the last time I ate McDonalds, KFC or the like, so it seems not. I was a normal kid who was allowed the odd treat as a part of a generally nutritious diet. A kid with parents who could afford to ensure that the food I ate was mostly healthy, and who were quite capable of saying “no”.

Any good parent should be mostly be able to hold sway over advertising and sponsorship when their children’s eating habits are concerned.

There were a lot fewer junk food options available when I was a kid, of the takeaway type at least. No KFC, no McDonalds, no pizza – I first ate that in my late teens, no franchise fast food at all.

Fizzy drinks were a rare treat – but we did make up Greggs cordial and saw how much sugar went into it because we added it ourselves. There was plenty of baking and puddings, as well as meat and 3 veg plus a lot of fruit.

Some people with probably a similar type of diet went on to become fans of fast food – I did eat things like fish and chips quite often but have largely resisted getting pulled in by advertising.

Every time the video ref makes a decision against the Warriors I can quite easily resist racing to the nearest KFC.

I by some junk at the supermarket but not a lot and usually manage to not eat too much too often.

I haven’t been to McDonalds since before my grand daughter stayed in Ronald McDonald House in Auckland.

Diets and obesity and diabetes and heart disease are all major issues, but we must be able to deal with them better than banning or taxing everything that someone says is unhealthy, or could prompt unhealthy behaviour.

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17 Comments

  1. PDB

     /  June 3, 2017

    The same people moaning about KFC are probably the same ones moaning that Cadbury was leaving Dunedin………

  2. Alan Wilkinson

     /  June 3, 2017

    Bugger. First time I agree with Marvelly.

    • Gezza

       /  June 3, 2017

      Sensible stuff from LM & PG. Both describe my upbringing & fast food relationship situation too. Even me poyes n creemdonuts are only an occasional treat. I’m not even actually big on chippies & popcorn, no matter who’s having a decent scrap on this blog. Mum & Dad said no to most entreaties for sweeties.

    • David

       /  June 3, 2017

      Funny Alan I was thinking exactly the same thing

    • PDB

       /  June 3, 2017

      As most things of today the issue is with the parents – back in days past the parents weren’t eating fast food all the time hence the kids didn’t either. Roll forward to today and the children just follow the lead of their fast food addicted parents.

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  June 3, 2017

        There were takeaways in the time of the ancient Romans, and they were very common even then. The only difference between now and the past is that there were not the franchises to anything like the same extent. Takeaways have been around since time immemorial.

        There were plenty of hamburger bars and fish & chip shops around when I was a child-and other takeaways like Chinese ones.

        I don’t think that KFC is a very good choice as a sports’ sponsor, but nobody’s obliged to eat the horribly greasy stuff that they make, I suppose. Ugh-even when I ate meat, I didn’t like KFC. KFC are unlikely to be doing sponsorship out of the goodness of their hearts, they obviously DO want people to think of them and buy their greasy chicken after the game; it’s naive to assume that this isn’t the case. If Lizzie Marvelly doesn’t eat this sort of thing now-how fascinating to read that and the rest of it*-that proves nothing at all.

        * I don’t think

        • Gezza

           /  June 4, 2017

          * I don’t think
          You’re being too hard on yourself Kitty. ❤️

  3. Oliver

     /  June 3, 2017

    The worst sponsors of fast food are the parents. Kids don’t buy fast food, they don’t have a job or money. Which means to eat KFC the parents need to buy it. Perhaps we should educate parents on how to be better parents rather than this sponsorship nonsense. It goes hand in hand with violent video games, movies etc. We need to educate parents on how to raise children. It should be mandatory. Like getting your driver’s license.

    • Brown

       /  June 3, 2017

      So here we are hundreds of thousands of years down the evolutionary path with billions of children raised to mature and raise their children and so on. Suddenly we need to teach parents how to raise children? I interact with children of all sorts of class and culture every day and most seem just fine – I suspect that’s because they have parents that care about them. Many are a delight and a credit to their parents or whoever is teaching them manners.

      What we need is the State out of parenting by chopping welfare and, as it was of old, making children the responsibility of their parents.

      • Gezza

         /  June 3, 2017

        Yep.

      • Conspiratoor

         /  June 4, 2017

        and instil responsibilly before rights. It’s swung too far the other way and society is paying bigly

    • Anonymous Coward

       /  June 4, 2017

      As long as children’s sports teams hand out McDonalds and Burger King vouchers for the player of the day the decision not to go is placed outside of the parents control.

      • Gezza

         /  June 4, 2017

        Couldn’t they tell the kid to play badly next week, AC? 😳 Once a week’s probably ok anyhow.

        • Anonymous Coward

           /  June 4, 2017

          The worst player of the day voucher we’ve had is a free kids meal and dessert at the Lone Star, can’t be used without a paying adult. First one cost us $120, we figured out quickly to only take one adult at lunchtime and you can get away with $20, either way it’s a massive rort.