Cartoon characters make food tastier to kids

June 21, 2010 4:37:16 PM PDT
For years, the food industry and health advocates have wrestled over what's right when it comes to marketing food to children.

Now, a small study by Yale University nutritional researchers looks into how much clout cartoon characters have


Kids doing taste tests of snacks not only chose packages with cartoon stickers over the same snack in a plain wrapper -

They also thought the cartoon-labeled snack tasted better!

Regardless whether it was gummy snacks or graham crackers, 85 per cent of the kids picked the cartoon-decorated snack package.

But the researchers were surprised that cartoons didn't have as much influence on choice over HEALTHY foods, such as carrots. Only 50 per cent of kids thought carrots in a cartoon-decorated package tasted better.

They say kids sometimes get mixed messages on food ads - Shrek is being used both on fast food products, and for government "good nutrition" campaigns.