Effects of fast-food branding on children’s taste preferences

Siew Tim Lai, Zuhrah Beevi, Reiko Yeap

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Health authorities and public communities stated that fast-food marketing is the most recognized potent force for contribution to childhood obesity. Much research has focused on the influence of television commercials on children’s eating behaviours, thus this study explored the effect of fast-food branding on children’s taste preferences. Sixty preschool children between three and six years old (M = 4.6, SD = 1.2) were grouped into Non-obese, Obese and overweight, according to their BMI values based on WHO classification. The study was divided into two stages. The initial stage comprised of a survey distributed to parents collecting information on family’s fast-food consumption habits. The second stage was an experiment designed to determine the effects of food packaging. Participants tasted three pairs of identical foods (burgers, nuggets and carrots) presented in either popular fast-food brand or neutral unbranded packaging before indicating whether the two tasted the same, or if one tasted better. Results reviewed that 63.3% of the participants preferred food presented in popular brand packaging. Furthermore, no differences were found between the groups across three food products [?² (2, n= 60), p>.05]. Findings imply that advocates should use this information to brand more nutritious products that is more appealing to children.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-56
Number of pages18
JournalSoutheast Asia Psychology Journal
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2014


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