Dr. Srijith Rajamohan and Dr. Nicholas Polys in ARC and Assistant Professor, Vivica Kraak in the Department of Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise are collaborating on a research project to map the world of celebrity endorsement of food and beverage brands, products and groups in the United States. HNFE doctoral student, Mi Zhou, is part of the research team with ARC MS student, Faiz Abidi, to build, analyze and visually display in 2D and 3D a database of more than 550 unique celebrities used to market food, beverage and restaurant products to children, teens and adults. The ARC team had helped build an open-source analytics and visualization engine to help address these needs.
The results of this project will be used to inform the policies and actions of diverse stakeholders including industry, government and public health groups to use celebrity endorsement, along with other integrated marketing communications, to promote healthy nutrient-profile products and behaviors that support healthy food environments for American children, adolescents and their parents. Prof. Kraak and her work was recently featured on the VT news which can be found here: