University of Calgary

Media Literacy & Food Marketing

In 2019-2020, the Helderleigh Foundation matched funding made available through the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to Dr. Charlene Elliott, Professor of Communication and Canada Research Chair in Food Marketing, Policy and Children’s Health.


Funding worked to advance a program of research related to food marketing and children’s health and to develop innovative content to enhance children’s critical skills when it comes to navigating food marketing messages.


The Helderleigh Foundation investment funded postdoctoral fellow Dr, Emily Truman, who worked with​ Dr. Elliott to achieve the following outcomes:

  1. Update the existing Media Literacy and Food Marketing (MFLM) program for children with new content to reflect current trends in child-targeted food marketing techniques. See HF website under the News tab to read both Emily’s findings that “Canada is a leading source of research on food literacy” and to access Charlene’s Raising Food Savvy Consumers: A Guide to Media and Advertising Literacy for Children ebook. Make sure to click the e-book.

  2. Extend the reach of the existing MLFM program throughout Alberta.

  3. Advance understanding of the academic literature and gaps of knowledge in that literature when it comes to the “power” of food marketing messages on children, and the “power” of food packaging.
    See: Elliott, C. and Truman, E. (2020). The Power of Packaging: A Scoping Review and Assessment of Child-Targeted Food Packaging. Nutrients, 12(4): 958. DOI: and Elliott, C. and Truman, E (2019). Measuring the Power of Food Marketing to Children: A Review of Recent Literature. Current Research Reports. DOI:

  4. Create lesson plans and an Ontario Curriculum learning outcome set of documents in conjunction with OPHEA for delivery to Ontario schools, commencing 2020/2021.