Jul 10 2010

Cartoon Characters Impact What Your Child Wants to Eat

Published by at 10:17 pm under General Topic

Food marketers as well as parents have known for years that a popular cartoon character can influence a child’s desire for junk food but even I was surprised to learn the addition of the lovable Shrek could get kids to eat more onions – a lot more onions!

According to today’s Wall Street Journal since the Vidalia Onion Committee teamed up with Dreamworks Animation and added Shrek to its marketing campaign demand for these sweet onions went up 30% to 35% one produce manager in Mobile, Alabama reports selling vidalia onions 3 times last years weekly volume http://online.wsj.com/article/SB20001424052748704123604575323433042544568.html

The Vidalia onion campaign uses a cartoon character to sell good food but the rest of marketing messages are not so positive. In a recent study published June 21 in the journal Pediatrics Christina Roberto and colleagues from Yale University studied how popular licensed cartoon characters appearing on food packaging impact young children’s taste and snack preferences. Forty 4- to 6-year-old children tasted 3 pairs of identical foods (graham crackers, gummy fruit snacks, and carrots) presented in packages either with or without a popular cartoon character. Children tasted both food items in each pair and indicated whether the 2 foods tasted the same or one tasted better. Guess what? The kids preferred the foods with the popular cartoon characters on the packaging. This clearly demonstrates branding food packages with cartoon characters influences young children’s taste preferences and snack selection. Unfortunately besides the Shrek tie- in most foods promoted to kids are energy-dense and nutrient poor- AKA – Junk Food. Those who market inferior foods to kids are taking unfair advantage of children’s innate sense of trust . Using licensed characters to advertise junk food to children should be restricted.

No responses yet

Comments RSS

Leave a Reply