Study: Kids Think Cereal With Cartoon Mascot Tastes Better

Here’s a sad, but entirely unsurprising piece of consumer news. In a peer-reviewed study recently published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School for Communication fed the same cereal to school-aged children in different boxes. Boxes with a cartoon character earned higher tastiness ratings from the kids.

Researchers also found that the cereal’s name set up expectations of what it might taste like, and changed the subjects’ perception of the cereal. Children told that the cereal was called “Healthy Bits” rated the cereal more highly than those told it was named “Sugar Bits.” (“Hey, this doesn’t taste so bad for being healthy,” they might have said to themselves.)

Influence of Licensed Spokescharacters and Health Cues on Children’s Ratings of Cereal Taste [Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine] (via NYDN – thanks, D.!)