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Advertising Affects Children’s Perception about Food

August 16,2010 by: admin

Researchers from Yale University released a study which confirmed that children prefer to eat food from packages with cartoons on it than food with plain packaging. Forty children from New Haven, Connecticut were asked to test taste gummy fruit snacks, baby carrots and graham crackers. They were told to take one bite from a plain packaged food and another bite from a cartoon packaged food. The packages had the same brand of snack and the children insisted that the food from cartoons were tastier.

The children were aged 4 to 6, most of them could name the characters in the food packages. Dora the Explorer was recognized by 99 percent of the children with Scooby doo and Shrek followed suit.

The lead author Christina Roberto plans to study next whether the characters in cereal boxes like, Tiger from Frosted Flakes and Toucan Sam from Fruit Loops, have the same footing with Dora, Scooby and Shrek. She said that with the $1.6 billion spent on marketing in the food industry, 13 percent is used for licensing characters and promoting. Most of the foods are of poor nutritional quality.

The food industry has to have a high quality definition of healthy foods, thus, regulators want to restrict the advertising standards to standards that would favor healthy foods and fight obesity. The Congress says the standards could take a few months to complete. The delay was said to cause cartoon-crazed food products to remain on demand.

One of the text included in the proposed bill were to have cereals contained up to 8 grams of sugar per serving, saturated fats set to very low and all foods contain whole grain, fruits and vegetables and low-fat milk.

President Obama has called for a fair advertising campaign for food products that would promote health and avoid obesity. And a lot of critics state that many companies are doing the opposite. They added that the advertisements are flawed as a lot of the foods are actually high in cholesterol, fats, calories, sugar and salt.

Last year, the Congress ordered the Federal Trade Commission, the Centers for Disease Control, Food and Drug Administration and Prevention and the Agriculture Department to come up with measures that can promote children’s food advertising. The federals are took the challenge but found out that it was too tough and it may take a lot of time to get it done. When the preliminary proposal was passed in December, many food and advertising companies said their ‘boos’. The delay for making the proposals has allowed cartoon characters to remain afloat the supermarket shelves. Betsy Lordan, Federal Trade Commission spokeswoman, said that they do not have an exact date on when the standards will be finalized. She also stated that before the agencies would submit it to the Congress, they still have to release their plan to the public. And to make this plan effective, the food and advertising industries must be willing to accept changes.


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