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Kids Say Cereal with Cartoon Packaging Tastes Better

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Tony the Tiger, Toucan Sam and Snap, Crackle and Pop aren't going anywhere.

sugar bites

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania tested the influence of marketing on children, and discovered what we moms already knew -- getting kids to eat healthy isn't a snap!

Eighty kids between the ages of 4 and 6 were given one box of a "new" cereal. Some boxes had cartoon characters from the movie "Happy Feet" and some did not. The cereal in all the boxes was the same -- from a health food store.

As expected, the kids who received a box with "Happy Feet's" Mumble and Gloria rated the cereal higher than those who received a plain box. Researchers also found kids responded differently to cereal names. Of the plain boxes named "Healthy Bits" or "Sugar Bits" -- more children rated "Healthy Bits" as tasting better.

"When there was a character on the box, they liked the cereal a lot, and it didn't matter what the name of the cereal was," says Sarah Vaala, one of the lead authors of the study. "Once you put a character on the box, that overrides their judgment of the health merits of the food."

Momlogic wants to know -- do your kids eat cereal? Does their favorite cereal have a cartoon character on the box?

next: The Faces Behind Classic Toys
9 comments so far | Post a comment now
sepazon March 11, 2011, 6:49 AM

Good article. Thank you.
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Lindsay Dianne March 11, 2011, 7:47 AM

I’ve found it super easy, since I just NEVER bought garbage, our four year old isn’t aware that there is garbage available. You should have seen her face when she saw Dora alphagetti for the first time.
If you let your child choose what their eating? there is no wonder your country has such a huge problem with obesity.
Mom logic just isn’t common.

Anonymous March 11, 2011, 4:14 PM

Well said Lindsay. I don’t understand the need for all these articles about food. Surely it’s simple - if you don’t want the little ones to eat something then DO. NOT. BUY. IT.

Carol March 11, 2011, 11:17 PM

It also helps if you limit your kids tv viewing time so that they don’t get exposure to commericals especially aimed at them for low nutrient foods.

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