The same tactics used to sell kids sugary treats and junk food—specifically featuring cartoon characters—could be used to sell them healthier fare, according to a recent study published in the International Journal of Markets and Business Systems (a journal that sounds like it could use a cartoon character of its own).
According to Food Navigator, researchers at the University of Bari Adlo Moro in Italy found that 5- and 6-year-olds choose healthy foods like kiwis, carrots and tomatoes over their usual name-brand snacks if the healthy items had a sticker featuring their favorite cartoon character. Even kids who had never tried or straight-up disliked the healthier options were still swayed by the sticker. “The findings show that characters deeply influenced children’s choices in favor of healthy food,” wrote the authors, who said the results “can represent an incisive marketing tool to increase children’s appreciation of fruit and vegetables.”
Even though the study only involved 13 kids, the researchers suggest that changing the way fruits and vegetables are marketed—targeting kids instead of their parents—could be a valuable tool in selling healthy snacks to children, a strategy that is often overlooked. Maybe it’s time to toss Star Wars’ BB-8 on bags of baby carrots. You know, assuming that it’s one of the few products Star Wars hasn’t gotten to yet.