The Science Behind Fast Food FACTS

We used syndicated advertising data from Nielsen Global Media to evaluate fast-food advertising in the United States in 2019. Whenever possible, we used the same methods as our previous report, Fast Food FACTS: 2013 to measure changes over time.

We did not have access to fast-food industry proprietary documents, including privately commissioned market research, media, and marketing plans, or other strategic documents. Therefore, we do not attempt to interpret fast-food companies’ goals or objectives for their marketing practices.

We provide transparent documentation of:

  • Advertising spending in all measured media by fast-food restaurants;
  • The extent of children’s and teens’ exposure to TV advertising for fast food;
  • TV advertising targeted to Black and Hispanic youth, including on Black-targeted and Spanish-language TV and disproportionate exposure by Black versus White youth; and
  • Changes in advertising spending and exposure that occurred from 2012 to 2019.

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