Pester Power or Parent Power?

16 July 2020

A new report from the Children’s Food Campaign and Food Active has revealed that parents and carers want to see an end to the use of popular children’s characters and brand mascots on food and drink high in fat, salt and sugar.

Results from 942 UK parents, who shared their views in an online survey in Winter 2019, found that:

  • 9 in 10 (91%) of the 942 parents taking part in the research say that the use of child-friendly characters on food and drink leads to their children requesting or pestering for those products.
  • More than 8 in 10 (84%) parents said characters should be removed from unhealthy sweets, confectionery and snack products
  • Nearly 7 in 10 (68%) agreed that the use of children’s characters makes it more difficult to feed their children a healthy diet.


Whilst some supermarkets including Tesco, Lidl, ASDA and Sainsburys have started to remove child-friendly characters from high sugar cereals, parents revealed this marketing tactic is an issue across a wide range of unhealthy products including flavoured yogurts, chocolate and sweet confectionery and cupcake kits, so there is much more to be done.

With the UK Prime Minister’s announcement on addressing obesity imminent, organisations are calling on the Government and food companies to listen to parents’ views and support them by introducing policies to restrict use of child-friendly characters to healthier products only. Parents also clearly want supermarkets to take responsibility too, by removing unhealthy products designed to appeal to children at their eye level on shelves, as well as store entrances, aisle ends, tills and checkouts.

Read the full report here.

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