Dr. Patricia Farrell on Medika Life

Clever Choice of Colors Draws Children Into Poor Food Choices

The colors of packaging are particularly attractive to children, and merchandising takes full advantage of this fact.

Marketing has a big impact on kids’ eating preferences and choices in the market when shopping. Food corporations especially target youngsters with their packaging and advertising by using cunning and planned methods. Choosing the appropriate color is an especially important way to affect a child’s taste perception.

Children significantly preferred food products packaged in red. This is in line with our hypothesis that red exerts greater attraction than green for children when associated with food because, as in previous literature, food items with a red-packaged color are presumably associated with more pleasant tastes.” In fact, color has been found to have a profound, assumed, bias regarding the taste of that item.

These marketing techniques aim to seize their interest, arouse favorable feelings, and ultimately influence consumers to make unhealthy food selections.

Food marketers use vivid and eye-catching images to grab kids’ attention. A child’s interest can be captured right away through appealing branding, colorful packaging, and appealing food imagery. The products appear more appealing and desirable thanks to these exciting images, especially when one item is included with favored characters.

Marketers frequently link their food goods to beloved characters from well-liked children’s cartoons, movies, or TV series. Food corporations build an emotional connection with kids by using these characters on the packaging, in ads, and in promotional efforts. Children are encouraged to choose these products because of their association with their favorite characters.

Food manufacturers may pay additional fees to have their products intentionally arranged on store shelves at eye level so that kids can easily reach and see them. Also, they purposefully place unhealthy goods on end displays or specific types of materials close to checkouts, where kids are more likely to ask for them. These strategies are designed to entice parents and kids to make impulsive purchases. Have you ever seen a child holding an item and begging the parent to buy it while the parent insists that it’s not a good choice?

Commercials have a significant impact on kids’ eating preferences. The catchy jingles, entertaining animations, and intriguing stories featured in advertisements frequently capture children’s attention. These commercials make unhealthy food products seem irresistible by emphasizing the flavor, thrill, and delight they offer.

Research on the subject is revealing. “Research examining the effects of television food advertising on children has shown that children exposed to advertisements prefer branded foods at much greater rates than children not similarly exposed. Television advertising impacts food consumption and eating behaviors as well.” The push, as has been shown, is toward choices that are heavily advertised but not equally heavy in nutrition.

Incentives and promotions also draw kids to products. Toys, games, competitions, and tie-ins with well-known films or franchises are a few examples of these.

There is also the issue of peer pressure to want certain food products that their friends have, and here we have more stress to make poor choices. Remember, these are children without sufficient control over peer pressure. If other kids have them, they want to be included in the group and not seen as modern pariahs.

What is the solution to this constant barrage of advertisements for poor food choices by children? Parents need to have candid discussions with their kids about advertising and equip them to make better dietary decisions about healthy food options by fostering media literacy skills in children and teaching them to think critically.

Enticing images, character branding, product placement, engaging advertisements, incentives, and promotions in marketing have a significant impact on children’s eating preferences. Children are continually exposed to persuasive messages beyond traditional platforms. If we want children to develop into healthy adults, we need to give them the skills to make healthy choices, no matter the color, placement, or characters in ads.

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Pat Farrell PhD
Pat Farrell PhDhttps://medium.com/@drpatfarrell
I'm a licensed psychologist in NJ/FL and have been in the field for over 30 years serving in most areas of mental health, psychiatry research, consulting, teaching (post-grad), private practice, consultant to WebMD and writing self-help books. Currently, I am concentrating on writing articles and books.


Medika Editor: Mental Health

I'm a licensed psychologist in NJ/FL and have been in the field for over 30 years serving in most areas of mental health, psychiatry research, consulting, teaching (post-grad), private practice, consultant to WebMD and writing self-help books. Currently, I am concentrating on writing articles and books.

Patricia also acts in an editorial capacity for Medika's mental health articles, providing invaluable input on a wide range of mental health issues.

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