The Power of Cartoon Characters in Promoting Food Choices

The Power of Cartoon Characters in Promoting Food Choices

Cartoon characters may make healthy foods more appealing to kids - but is marketing of any kind to kids okay?

It may not come as a big surprise, but it could offer promise as a marketing tool: kids are more likely to choose apples that have been stickered with a recognizable cartoon character, compared to an unknown character or no sticker at all.

These are the conclusions of a recent US-based study in which elementary school students were offered apples and cookies with their lunch (kids were allowed to choose both options). When the apples featured a popular cartoon sticker, kids were more likely to choose an apple—almost twice as likely. However, the cookie decision didn’t change, beating out apples as most popular.

While we’re all familiar with packaged and processed foods branded with loveable characters and bright, fun packaging, this study suggests that healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, can also be made more appealing to kids using the same devices.

Using cartoon characters: helpful or harmful?
The issue raises a few concerns, according to news sources. For instance, should marketing to kids be used at all? Are cartoon characters a fun way to get kids excited about healthy foods, or it is an example of the pervasiveness of advertising and consumerism? What do you think—post a comment below and let us know!

Persuade picky eaters
Check out this recent blog post for extra tips to get kids interested in healthy foods, even if they’re picky eaters.

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