The University of Montana conducted some experiments on the food preferences of five-year old children before and after exposure to TV food commercials. “Natural preference” and preference after exposure to TV food commercials were compared.

The children were free to choose from junk foods such as corn chips, sweet cereals, cookies, soda pop, etc. and from higher-nutrition foods such as cheese, carrots, grapes, apples, milk and orange juice. Their natural preference was measured based on this simultaneous exposure.

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Then the children were shown a mere 12 minutes of children’s programming that included a half-dozen commercials for both low nutrition foods and for the higher-nutrition foods. Then back to the food tables and guess what?

The children consumed more junk foods and less higher-nutrition foods than in the previous exposure. Moreover, the children were more excited about the junk and had more recall of the junk food ads than of the other food ads.

It would seem the junkier your food products are, the better chance you have of selling them through TV advertising.

Reprinted from The Health Crusader, December 1979

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