Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Plain packaging for food

We all know that plain packaging is a one-off measure that will only ever apply to the 'unique' product of tobacco and definitely won't set off another avalanche of slippery slope legislation. We know this because esteemed professors such as Simon Chapman have told us so and it's not like he's ever wilfully misled us before, is it?

One of the supposed effects of plain packaging is that it makes some smokers think their cigarettes are of lower quality than they were before. This, indeed, has become one of the peer-reviewed pseduo-facts that has helped fill the void of empirical evidence since plain packaging came in in Australia.

So would anyone like to hazard a guess at why studies like this are now being conducted?

Pretty food packaging makes food taste better: study

A University of Calgary study suggests wrapping food up in a pretty package is as likely to influence a child's food choice as a brand name like McDonald's.

Prof. Charlene Elliott's study builds on one done by Stanford University a few years ago.

The Stanford study found that preschoolers thought foods wrapped in a McDonald’s wrapper tasted better than the identical food presented in a plain wrapper. Children in the study even preferred the taste of carrots wrapped in McDonald’s wrapping.

"It was a very provocative study," Elliott said. "It's hardly surprising that given the choice of something that was wrapped in something completely plain and something that was decorated, the preschoolers preferred the food in the decorated wrapping."

Elliott's study came to same conclusion as the Stanford study, ie. that plain packaging makes people think food tastes worse. Still, probably nothing to worry about, eh? Sounds like a harmless academic exercise with no conceivable policy implications. We all know that the slippery slope is a fallacy.

1 comment:

Charles Dougal said...

The Grocer of 18 Jan reports that the UK Department of ealth said: " it is planning a new voluntary code to limit the marketing of HFSS products to children, with measures including the banning of cartoon characters on packaging and restrictions on online promotions".

here we go!