About the Steve O Zone

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Licensed Characters on Food Packaging Affect Kids’ Taste

You know how sometimes in life you come across things that just seem so damn obvious you question the sanity of those behind it? 

For instance, did anyone really think Caddyshack II would be any good? 

Of course not... it was painfully obvious that it would be a disastrous flop before it ever hit the big screen, which of course it was. But as bad as it was, at least Caddyshack II didn't present itself as anything other than a very bad sequel. 

It didn't try and mask itself as some groundbreaking movie that would deliver a life-changing message.

With that thought in mind... 

The following is directly gleaned from the Yale University website:

New Haven, Conn. — Children significantly prefer the taste of junk foods branded with licensed cartoon characters on the packaging, compared with the same foods without characters, finds a new study from the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University. The study, published in Pediatrics, shows a causal relationship between licensed characters on food packaging and children’s taste and snack preferences.

All together now...


I have no idea how long the study lasted and quite frankly I don't want to know because it would anger me even more...

Am I to believe that at least one person at Yale University, arguably one of the world's finest institutions for higher learning, thought this was a good idea?

Someone actually sat in some classroom or office and thought to themselves...

'You know, I would like to do a study that shows kids are more inclined to eat junk food if a recognizable character is on the packaging than not...'

This person then pitched their idea to some dean or professor or someone with the word "emeritus" in their title, and then THAT person thought enough of the idea to green light it?

Where were the people going "What are you an idiot? You're going waste all this time and money on something that is ridiculously and painfully obvious?!?!?"

“Our results provide evidence that licensed characters can influence children’s eating habits negatively by increasing positive taste perceptions and preferences for junk food,” writes lead author Christina Roberto, M.S.

I hear Christina's next study will be to show that people who eat are less hungry than those who don't. Can't wait to see how that one turns out.

Til next time...


1 comment:

Clarissa said...

Sometimes studies such as this find results that are contrary to common sense. It was a worthwhile study, and a relatively low-cost one, that yielded interesting results. I personally read the paper and am citing it in a report on the food advertising industry's influence on children's taste preferences and behaviors. The interesting thing about this study is that it provided evidence that simply the image of a cartoon character -- recognized or not -- will affect the actual taste of a food. That is psychologically significant.