Here’s a finding that should come as no surprise to parents who take their kids grocery shopping:
Researchers found that the branding of American food product packaging with characters such as Dora the Explorer drives preschoolers to choose higher-calorie, less healthful foods over more nutritious options.
“The bottom line is that when kids are presented with a choice of graham crackers, fruit snacks or carrots, and the only difference is that one package has a licensed character on it, they actually think that the food with the character tastes better…” read more…
With Toy Story 3 breaking revenue records this past weekend, plus gazillions more that will pour in from DVD, games, and toy merchandising, one has to wonder why they need to make a few millions more in licensing Woody and Buzz to the food industry.
Kellogg’s is out with Toy Story 3 fruit flavored snacks, a concoction that’s “made with real fruit” but whose first 2 ingredients are corn syrup and sugar. It’s also got lots of artificial colorings that, due to potentially averse effect on kids cognitive abilities, are being phased out in Europe, but not here. The “real fruit” comes from apple puree concentrate, which is basically all the sugar from the apple without the benefit of the fiber.
We have no problem with kids having treats. But using movie characters to sell candy while at the same time assuring parents it’s “healthy” because of the fruit, well, that’s just wrong.
Here’s a radical idea – how about Buzz promoting carrots? The vitamin A is important for your eyesight kiddo, don’t you want to be an astronaut?
What to do at the supermarket:
Don’t let the food and move industry double team you. Set ground rules with your children in advance – 1 treat per child. Any treat they choose, but only one. Even if it’s fake-fruit snacks. Not a perfect solution, but good enough.