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Study: Cartoon characters may (negatively) influence children’s snacking decisions

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK A new study published in the latest edition of Pediatrics found that children are enticed by snacks that feature stickers of popular cartoon characters.

The study, conducted by researchers at Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, surveyed children ages 4 to 6 years to determine the correlation between the cartoon characters on food packaging and snack options for kids. Of three snack options — gummy fruit, graham crackers and carrots — children were asked to select which snack tasted best, given the option between packaging adorned with cartoon characters and without. The result: Most of the 40 children wanted the snacks labeled with cartoon stickers, and preferred gummy fruit and graham crackers with the stickers over carrots.

Christina Roberto, a graduate student at Yale University and lead author of the study, said her results may advocate the removal of licensed cartoon characters from all food packaging, since many snacks with cartoon character packaging typically are sugary snacks — more unhealthy foods are targeted towards children than any other age group.

“We now have clear evidence of something many people suspected — that the use of these licensed characters has an impact on children’s preferences in food,” said Dr. Thomas Robinson, director of the Center for Healthy Weight at Stanford University School of Medicine.

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New Kettle potato chips campaign: Let’s ‘crunch loud’

BY Allison Cerra

SALEM, Ore. Kettle brand potato chips is kicking off a campaign catered to chip lovers that crunch loud.

The Loud Food Club campaign reminds Kettle brand potato chips fans that loud crunching is nothing to be ashamed of, the company said, with its new site CrunchProud.com.

The Crunch Proud campaign promotion is fully integrated across in-store and online advertising. To drive consumer demand for Kettle Brand chips in stores, market-specific, free-standing inserts and in-store shipper displays featuring custom graphics are designed to generate excitement and purchase. Interactive social media content on the Kettle Brand Facebook page and Twitter profile, along with Facebook advertising, prompts fans to visit the Kettle Brand Crunch Proud website for a chance to win free chips for a year.

“At its potato-y core, every Kettle Brand chip is born to be crunched, and this summer we’re celebrating those who proudly crunch loud,” said Julie Dunmire, Kettle Brand director.

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Marcal’s Small Steps package now includes Environmental Facts panel

BY Allison Cerra

ELMWOOD PARK, N.J. A new feature can be found on the front of Marcal’s Small Steps packaging.

The paper towels now will include a nutrition facts-style Environmental Facts panel detailing information like recycled paper content (100%), how much chlorine bleach was used for whitening (0%) and use of chemical-based additives like fragrances and dyes (0%). It is the first of its category to include the panel. The Environmental Facts panel spearheads Marcal’s Right to Know initiative, geared to help consumers navigate green product claims and manufacturing practices.

“The Environmental Facts panel grew out of our discussions with consumers, who are consistently shocked to learn 98% of household paper goods are made by cutting down trees, even with today’s blue bin recycling,” said MJ Jolda, Marcal’s SVP marketing.  “It helped us realize shoppers wanting to make better choices need better information.”

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