Tricking taste buds: Kids say anything in McDonald’s wrapper is better

Yahoo! News Canada Aug 6 2007
Anything made by McDonald’s tastes better, preschoolers said in a study that powerfully demonstrates how advertising can trick the taste buds of young children. Even carrots, milk and apple juice tasted better to the kids if it was wrapped in the familiar packaging of the Golden Arches. The study had youngsters sample identical McDonald’s foods in name-brand or unmarked wrappers. The unmarked foods always lost the taste test. “You see a McDonald’s label and kids start salivating,” said Diane Levin, a childhood development specialist who campaigns against advertising to kids. She had no role in the research. Levin said it was “the first study I know of that has shown so simply and clearly what’s going on with (marketing to) young children.”

Study author Dr. Tom Robinson said the kids’ perception of taste was “physically altered by the branding.” The Stanford University researcher said it was remarkable how children so young were already so influenced by advertising. The study involved 63 low-income children aged three to five from Head Start centres in San Mateo County, Calif. Robinson believes the results would be similar for children from wealthier families. The research, appearing in August’s Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, was funded by Stanford and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The study will likely stir more debate over the movement to restrict ads to kids
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/s/capress/070806/business/food_kids_mcdonald_s_1