Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Getting children to embrace healthy food


Public Release: 23-Jun-2015
University of Bonn

If the packaging has an appealing design, primary school children also reach for healthy foods. This was revealed in a study in cooperation with the Research Institute for Child Nutrition in Dortmund under the direction of scientists from the University of Bonn. The results are being published in advance online in the journal Frontiers in Psychology. The final version will be published shortly.

Children are especially eager to reach for snacks if the packaging has an appealing design. 'The food industry has a lot of experience in using marketing effects to increase product sales amongst children,' says professor Bernd Weber from the Center for Economics and Neuroscience (CENs) of the University of Bonn. 'By comparison, there is very little knowledge about how such marketing effects can be used to better promote healthy food products to children.' This gap was addressed by a study performed by a team working with Weber from the CENs and professor and Dr. Mathilde Kersting from the Dortmund Research Institute for Child Nutrition (FKE).


'This is a classical marketing placebo effect,' says Weber. As in the case of a placebo medication, effects ascribed to certain products, which are not justified by the ingredients. In the study, each cup contained the same yogurt and fruit cereal snack, however, the primary school students believed that they could discern a difference in the flavor of the snack in the different packages.


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