Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Those Sinister Golden Arches

Get Rich Slowly recently posted on how Marketing Affects How Children Perceive Food. Apparently, a study funded by Stanford University and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation suggests that children of preschool age prefer McDonald's food to non-McDonald's food. That is, even if they're being served carrots, they perceived them as tasting better if they were wrapped in McDonald's packaging.

THIS is something we're going to try to avoid. We don't like McDonald's. We don't like the food they serve or the way they hook kids as consumers. We don't mind if our son has treats and goodies, but we want him to respect the food he eats. We believe there's tastier food beyond McDonald's, and we're working on making dinner a family ritual (i.e., not just for special events) so that bonding takes place at home instead of fast-food restaurants. That said, I can only imagine how hard this will be. It reminds me of something Morgan Spurlock said in Super Size Me. From Mindfully.org:

"A physiologist explains that fast-food restaurants hook kids in early. With clowns, toys and a chance to spend quality time with Mom or Dad, fast food becomes linked psychologically with fun and comfort.

"That moves Spurlock to make an instant parenting decision on camera: 'When I have kids, every time I drive by a fast-food restaurant I'm going to have to punch them in the face.'"

I'm not going to punch our little Boogie, but a don't think I'm not tempted to smack him in the back of the head if it helps move us away far, far away from those sinister golden arches. And make note...I only said *tempted*...don't take this as anything more than that :-P