Do parents buy healthier food for themselves or their kids?

Using a sample of 43 7–8-year olds and their parents, we examined the extent to which children’s judgments about food products are influenced by the same factors as their parents’. The factors manipulated were healthiness of product, brand name familiarity, and use of licensed cartoon characters (children) or celebrity endorsers (parents). Brand name familiarity was a more important factor than familiar cartoon characters or celebrity endorsers on food product evaluations. Parents and girls but not boys rated healthy products higher than unhealthy ones (e.g., breakfast cereal vs. pastries). However, parents placed greater weight on healthiness when choosing products for themselves than when choosing for their children. Discussion focuses on the promotion of healthy eating habits in children.

Source: “Packaging of healthy and unhealthy food products for children and parents: The relative influence of licensed characters and brand names” from Journal of Consumer Behaviour, Volume 9, Issue 5, pages 393–402, September/October 2010

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