Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes
This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.
Dr. Kim Mulvihill ReportingNew research shows kids' taste buds prefer fast food meals. It also shows the power of a strong marketing message.
According to preschoolers, anything in a McDonald's wrapper tastes better. It's remarkable how children so young are already so influenced by advertising.
Kids love fast food. However, with such young children, is it taste or marketing?
Stanford researchers put that to the test and found when it comes to burgers and fries, even milk and carrots, that logo, that brand, makes a difference.
How? Take two identical burgers from McDonalds. Wrap one in a white McDonald's wrapper, wrap the other in plain white paper. Guess which one the 3- to 5-year-old kids liked best?
Researchers did the same experiment with 63 kids, and Chicken McNuggets, fries, milk and carrots, and got the same results. If it's wrapped in a logo, kids say it tastes better.
The branding effect is not only strong but expensive. The food and beverage industry spends $10 billion a year marketing to American children.
In a statement, McDonalds says they market responsibly to children, but the fact is parents make the decisions for their children.
The researchers say don't blame the parents, they have a tough enough time competing with all that advertising that's getting kids to request junk food. What's more fair? Even the playing field and limit marketing to children.
The study by Dr. Thomas Robinson is published in the August issue of Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.