Health Branding Ethics

Thomas Boysen Anker (Lead / Corresponding author), Peter Sandøe, Tanja Kamin, Klemens Kappel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Commercial food health branding is a challenging branch of marketing because it might, at the same time, promote healthy living and be commercially viable. However, the power to influence individuals' health behavior and overall health status makes it crucial for marketing professionals to take into account the ethical dimensions of health branding: this article presents a conceptual analysis of potential ethical problems in health branding. The analysis focuses on ethical concerns related to the application of three health brand elements (functional claims, process claims, and health symbols) as well as a number of general concerns that apply to health branding as such. Being a pioneering analysis, this article advances the academic understanding of health branding and provides practitioners with knowledge of important concerns to take into account when marketing health brands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)33-45
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Business Ethics
Issue number1
Early online date28 May 2011
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011


  • Distortion of health knowledge
  • Exploitation of false inferences
  • Health branding ethics
  • Health claims
  • Health symbols
  • Inducement of false beliefs
  • Medicalization
  • Pathologizing
  • Process claims
  • Stereotyping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • General Business,Management and Accounting
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Law


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