Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Cartoon characters on cereal boxes influence children

This is hardly new, but recent research confirms what we've all known for years and what previous research has confirmed: "The use of media characters on food packaging affects children's subjective taste assessment". That is the result of a new study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine. In the study children were asked to test a "new" cereal that was in one of four professionally designed boxes. Children rated the cereal's taste higher when the box featured a popular media character. But, on the flip side, on name alone children tended toward the cereal when it was called "Healthy Bits" compared to "Sugar Bits".

Again, this is hardly rocket science, but obviously we need objective research to back what our gut already tells us. Of course, health advocates will be demanding cereal companies to exercise more responsibility, and possibly for more government regulation. The concerns are legitimate to a point, but it does mean even more so now that in the future there will be less fun at breakfast table.

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