Notify me

Sign up to be informed about FOE activities, and receive our newsletter.

* indicates required

Don't worry; we won't abuse your email address. Read our privacy statement.

US: Kids prefer carrots in McDonald’s wrappers

From the US comes more evidence that marketing strongly effects young children’s food preferences:

Carrots taste better in McDonald’s wrapping – kids

US researchers looked at the effects of fast food branding on young children’s taste preferences. They purchased hamburgers, french fries and chicken nuggets from McDonald’s and milk, juice and carrots from the shops.

The researchers then asked preschool children to choose from two identical samples of these food or beverages. The only difference was that one food item was wrapped in plain packaging. The other was in a McDonald’s wrapper.

The children were then asked which tasted better.

The researchers found that children preferred the taste of the food or drink if they thought it was from McDonald’s. Tellingly, three quarters of the children said the french fries in a McDonald’s bag tasted better than those in a plain bag.

Researchers also found that children who ate at McDonald’s more often were more likely to choose the food with the McDonald’s wrapper. And children with more TVs at home were also more likely to choose McDonald’s.

Read more: Reuters / NZ Herald, 7 Aug 2007

FOE comments

This study reinforces the message that it is not enough to ban the advertising of particular junk food products to children. The big food industry players are more concerned with establishing their brand in young minds. What they want is life-long customers.

Measures such as the agreement between the government and free-to-air television broadcasters to restrict advertising of junk food during children’s programming are futile when junk food companies can continue to promote their brands to children in countless ways such as the McDonald’s junior soccer ads on TV. This research didn’t tell the junk food advertising gurus anything they didn’t know.

Effects of Fast Food Branding on Young Children’s Taste Preferences

Read the abstract

Published on August 7, 2007 in International news