Confirming what I already knew (namely, that Cocoa Pebbles always tasted better because they bore Fred Flintstone's imprimatur), researchers from Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity have found that cartoon-adorned food packaging makes kids think their food tastes better. According to an entry in Shots:
And, yep, kids say carrots, graham crackers and gummy fruit snacks with a picture of either Dora, Shrek or Scooby Doo on its packaging was yummier. They had tastes of identical foods wrapped in plain, cartoonless packages for comparison.
The study was just published in the journal Pediatrics. It follows earlier work from Stanford's Thomas Robinson, MD, showing that children preferred the taste of food that came in a McDonald's bag (branded with the restaurant’s familiar “Golden Arches”) over the same food extracted from unmarked paper packaging. “The branding effect is very strong, even by only 3 to 5 years of age,” Robinson said at the time.