Cartoon Characters Make Cereal Taste Better
Presented by Barb Smith with ABC4.com
Putting cartoon characters on cereal is nothing new, but a new study shows what marketers have long known. Those characters have an impact on how kids eat. The study findings are in the March issue of the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
Researchers created their own cereal boxes, one with a penguin on the front and one without. They put the same cereal in both boxes. Test kids between the ages of four and six reported liking the cereal with the character on the box a lot more.
Kary Woodruff, a dietician at TOSH, says the study results are no surprise but are a good reminder to parents that children are easily influenced. "Our taste is influenced by so many suggestions around us, external cues that we have, so as parents what are cues that we can help to provide for our children to help promote healthier choices.."
The same research project proved healthy messages are getting through. Researchers named one cereal Healthy Bits, and one Sugar Bits, and kids also said Healthy Bits, as long as it had a character on the box, tasted better despite the fact there was no difference in the cereal. Woodruff recommends if you want to avoid the issue altogether, shop without your kids, and put all cereal into plastic containers.