Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 104, Issue 5, pp e364–e368 | Cite as

Food Branding and Young Children’s Taste Preferences: A Reassessment

  • Charlene D. ElliottEmail author
  • Rebecca Carruthers Den Hoed
  • Martin J. Conlon
Mixed Research



This study examines the effects of branding and packaging on young children’s taste preferences.


Preschool children aged 3 to 5 (n=65) tasted five pairs of identical foods in packaging from McDonald’s and in matched packaging that was either plain, Starbucks-branded, or colourful (but unbranded). Children were asked if the foods tasted the same or if one tasted better.


Children preferred the taste of foods wrapped in decorative wrappings, relying more on aesthetics than on familiar branding when making their choices.


The findings suggest the need to explore questions beyond commercial advertising (and brand promotion) on television and other media platforms. More attention should be directed at the important role of packaging in directing children’s food preferences.

Key Words

Child preschool marketing fast food advertising as topic taste perception 



Examiner les effets de l’image de marque et des emballages sur les préférences gustatives des jeunes enfants.


Des enfants d’âge préscolaire de 3 à 5 ans (n=65) ont goûté à cinq paires d’aliments identiques placés dans des emballages de McDonald’s et dans des emballages assortis: neutres, de marque Starbucks ou colorés (mais sans marque). Nous avons demandé aux enfants si ces aliments goûtaient la même chose ou si l’un d’eux avait meilleur goût.


Les enfants ont préféré le goût des aliments dans des emballages décoratifs, se fiant davantage à l’esthétique qu’à la familiarité des marques pour faire leurs choix.


Ces constatations montrent qu’il faut explorer d’autres questions que la publicité commerciale (et la promotion de l’image de marque) à la télévision et sur d’autres plateformes médiatiques. Il faudrait accorder plus d’attention au rôle important des emballages dans l’orientation des préférences gustatives des enfants.

Mots Clés

enfant d’âge préscolaire marketing aliments de restauration rapide publicité comme sujet perception du goût 


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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Charlene D. Elliott
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Rebecca Carruthers Den Hoed
    • 1
  • Martin J. Conlon
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Communication and CultureUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada
  2. 2.Department of Communication and CultureUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

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