This probably won’t come as a surprise… but recently Yale University announced the results of a research study which confirmed that children believe food that’s marketed with cartoons tastes better.
The study included forty children from the New Haven, Conn. area. They were asked to do a taste test of gummy fruit snacks, graham crackers and baby carrots. One bite came from food in a plain package with a simple label, and one bite came from a similar package that also had a Dora the Explorer, Shrek or a Scooby Doo sticker on the front.
Both packages contained the same brand of snack, but the children consistently said that the food from packages with cartoons tasted better.
The fact that children would prefer a snack with a cartoon character on it isn’t surprising. Eighty-five percent of the children in the study opted for the cartoon-decorated graham crackers over the plain-wrapped ones when presented with a choice of snack; 55 percent of them said the cartoon-decorated crackers actually tasted better. For gummy snacks, 85 percent chose the cartoon package over the plain one for a snack and 52 percent of the children thought the snacks in a cartoon-decorated package tasted better.
What is interesting though is that researchers found cartoons didn’t have as much of an effect on the children’s taste for carrots. Only 50 percent of children thought carrots tasted better from a cartoon-decorated package. Though to be fair, that’s about the same results as the gummy snacks.
Bottom line is cartoon characters do seem to make a difference in kids perception of making food taste better.