Friday, 22 January 2010

Food and Branding

Here's some facts from a study that was conducted on kids about the effects of branded food.

"Young Children Prefer the Taste of Branded Fast Foods"

A new US study suggests that preschool children prefer the taste of fast food and drinks from McDonald's branded packages to the same food and drinks from unbranded packages.

The incentive for the study is explained in the paper's introduction which describes how food marketing that targets children is widespread:

"The food and beverage industries spend more than 10 billion dollars per year to market to children in the United States," wrote the authors.

By the time they are two years old children may already have beliefs about certain brands, and by the age of 6 they can recognize brands and say which products they belong to.

Thomas N Robinson of the Stanford University School of Medicine in California, and colleagues carried out the study where 63 preschool children aged between 3 and 5 tasted 5 pairs of packages of the same McDonald's food and drinks. One of the pair in each case bore the McDonald's brand, while the other was unbranded, in plain packages. Altogether the children performed over 300 tasting comparisons.

  • Futher analysis showed that 4 out of 5 times, children preferred the taste of food and drink that they thought was from McDonald's.
  • Preschool children who had more TV sets in their homes, and children who ate McDonald's foods more frequently were also more likely to prefer McDonald's branded food and drink to the identical unbranded items.
This article was found on Medical News Today.

It's quite sad to think how we are are indoctrinated from an early age, where our minds are conditioned to associate branding and visuals with taste, a flavour or good feeling. It's something I've never thought about it much, but even the idea that a meal is named "Happy". If kids can grow up to accept stories about talking snakes, it's no surprise they can be indoctrinated to believe that certain branded foods taste good.

In 90's it was all about the brands on the clothes we wear but now branding has kind of become more subtle yet it's permeating our lives to an unavoidable extent. It's not just effecting what logos we want to have on our t shirts, of how we like others to see ourselves in terms of fashion. It's not just about wealth/status anymore. It's more subtle than that. It's not just a manufactured ideology people buy into, it's an entire culture they're born into.

Sorry for the ranting nature of this post, it's coming from my train of thought.

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