Researchers have proven what marketing firms have known all along—food simply tastes better when there is a cartoon character on the box.
Well, at least to kids anyway.
Forty children from the New Haven, Conn., area 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 had the same brand of snack, but the children consistently said that the food from packages with cartoons tasted better, according to a study published today in the journal Pediatrics.
However, the margins are a bit different when you compare choice vs taste. According to the study, 85% of kids preferred graham crackers and gummy snacks when there was a cartoon character on the box, but only 55% and 52% respectively thought that the product actually tasted better than the boring, non-cartoony version.
The power of marketing at work—but the system doesn’t apply to everything. When carrots were introduced into the study, only 50% of children thought it tasted better from a cartoon package. You can’t polish a turd as they say, and kids would probably rather eat turds than carrots.