Anyone who has ever been grocery shopping with a child knows how enticing a food package can be. My 3 year old is fascinated by Curious George and squeals in delight when he sees that curious little monkey’s picture on boxes of “fruit” snacks. Needless to say, if that box didn’t feature his favorite monkey, he probably wouldn’t even take notice. Marion Nestle, a food political writer brings up the topic of food packaging in one of her recent blog posts.
Is there any evidence that plain packaging for unhealthy foods would reduce demand? Research has focused on marketing’s effect on children’s food preferences, demands and consumption. Brands and packages sell foods and drinks, and even very young children recognize and desire popular brands. When researchers compare the responses of children to the same foods wrapped in plain paper or in wrappers with company logos, bright colors or cartoon characters, kids invariably prefer the more exciting packaging.
Plain wrappers, no more marketing gimmicks? Do we see that in our future? I know many parents out there would certainly rejoice.