Forty children, aged between 4 and 6 years old, were given three pairs each of graham crackers, gummy fruit snacks and carrot sticks. The pairs were identical other than the packaging, with one coming in a plain wrapper, and the other in a wrapper donning the images of Dora the Explorer, Scooby-Doo or Shrek. According to the study, the children preferred the taste of the cartoon packaged foods. The results were far less pronounced with the carrots, which were not shaped like cartoon characters.
But sometimes we do need studies to prove the obvious, if only to get a conversation started. The study's conclusion? "These findings suggest that the use of licensed characters to advertise junk food to children should be restricted." We should all, I would think, be able to agree on that.