Will Fruit Stickers Increase Kids’ Consumption?

My Fruity Faces

image: MyFruityFaces.com

Americans are not consuming enough fresh fruit and vegetables. Especially kids. A potential method of motivating them to eat more is to make apples and bananas just as cool as Cheetos and Skittles. For very young children, this often means the use of fun cartoon characters.

My Fruity Faces is a relatively new company that has developed edible cartoon stickers that kids can place on fruit to make it more fun. The stickers include cartoon characters such as SpongeBob SquarePants and Dora the Explorer.

Research from Cornell University has shown that stickers may be an effective way to get kids to consume more fresh fruit. The stickers sold by My Fruity Faces are “all natural” and are made of the following ingredients:

Sugar, Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose(Modified Cellulose), Water, Natural flavor, Modified corn starch, Glycerin, Polyglycerol esters of fatty acids, Citric acid, Red beet concentrate, Turmeric, Red cabbage extract, Caramel color, Sodium Bicarbonate.

The colors are from natural resources instead of artificial dyes, which is a good thing. Because the amount of food in each sticker is so tiny, their nutrition label states zero calories. In fact, everything in the stickers is zero.

What do you think? Should these stickers be used to entice kids to eat more fruit and vegetables?

(h/t to Mary MacVean, LA Times)

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  • Ellen van Kleef

    An interesting question. We also did a study in the Netherlands among 10 till 12 years old children. We promised them a gift with a healthier snack in an experiment using a virtual supermarket. This nudge did not work. I wrote about it at my blog: http://foodintakecontrol.blogspot.nl/2012/09/a-nudge-that-did-not-work-virtual.html

    • ms1431

      Interesting that the nudge attached to junk food didn’t have an impact either. I suspect the toy with a happy meal is more intended to make the happy meal a psychologically positive and longer-lasting experience, but still. Well, I think we can be certain that McDs isn’t throwing it’s money away.
      In the states we have Chick Fil’A which gives small board books with it’s kids meal. Of course, it’s deep fried chicken, but the thought is nice.

  • amy

    Absolutely not. Parents and teachers need to inform kids of the importance of eating healthy. It is not a game! It is one of life’s most important lessons and kid’s should eat healthy because they are are consistently taught to.

    • Steven Barr

      Question: when teaching a child to ride a bike, do you use training wheels or just sit the child on the bike and say “now go ride”?

      My guess is that you would use training wheels. Well, think of the stickers as training wheels, theses kids are not going to pick an apple over a cupcake to eat. Now, with a edible sticker on top of that apple it will most likely be a different outcome. So no its not a game but more it’s a learning process that fruits and veggies can taste good and if it’s the stickers that teach them that then i am 100% behind it. Parents and teachers can inform all they want but the eyes are the pathway to the stomach without a stimulus those lessons will just fall on def ears.

      • ms1431

        Your logic is faulty because you’re making as assumption that the kids have to be (re)trained to eat healthy. It is safe to assume that you wouldn’t feed cookies to a newborn or infant? They don’t like crap food until we give it to them.
        My twin 3YOs eat healthy, and will actually opt for whole food over crap. They do this because that is what they’ve been given, and what they’ve been taught. They ask for quinoa, enjoy couscous, and eat whole wheat bread. These foods actually taste quite good if you don’t have the sugar and salt addictions. It is nature that creates that possibility, but it’s nuture (or lack of) that allows it to happen.
        So, until they can drive to the store, we really don’t have a problem.

        • Lana

          Exactly. Natural whole foods actually taste better than artificial crap. We crave chips and candy cause they contain addictive chemicals. And if a kid doesn’t “like” fruits and veggies, it’s always the parents’ fault for not feeding them healthy foods at a young age. You have to do it right from day one and be a good rolemodel for your kids. Humans are designed to enjoy nature’s foods. Just think; if you pick apart a cupcake for example, there are tons of ingredients that you wouldn’t eat raw by themselves. But an apple is just an apple. ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Susie-Notley-Bautista/1366966559 Susie Notley Bautista

    Kids want everything to be fun, this idea is fun. Where can I buy them?

    • Steven Barr

      I went to myfruityfaces.com and i purchased there.

  • AS

    Amy: “Not a game!”. Demanding someone to do something will most likely turn them off to your teachings. And yelling at your kids to eat fruit, will probably cause them to resent you over time.

  • Victoria

    I don’t think a Spongebob sticker on a carrot is going to get your child to eat it.. that makes no fucking sense.