How packaging affects the product preferences of children and the buyer behaviour of their parents in the food industry

Ike Ogba, Rebecca Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Purpose – Health is becoming an increasingly important issue in the UK as well as the rest of Europe. Emphasis on the importance of healthy eating is ongoing for many reasons, including the growing concern about childhood obesity resulting in the ban of advertising of unhealthy foods to children in the UK in April 2007. However, although legislation has been placed upon the advertising of unhealthy food products, no such restrictions have been placed on the packaging of children's foods despite the influence of packaging on consumer buyer decisions. This paper aims to investigate the effect of packaging on children's product preferences and its ability to influence parents' buyer decision in-store. Design/methodology/approach – The study was approached from the parents' rather than the children's perspective. A quantitative approach was adopted in data collection, using a 28 item Likert scaled questionnaire administered to 150 parents, with over 95 percent response rate. Findings – The study shows that packaging does affect the product preferences of children. Also, children are particularly interested in influencing the purchase of unhealthy foods. However, parents within the study claimed that they did not succumb to their children's requests for the purchase of unhealthy food, which contradicts evidence from previous findings. Research limitations/implications – The claim by parents that they did not succumb to their children's requests for unhealthy food contradicts findings from previous research. This therefore leads to a recommendation for further studies as social desirability bias may have influenced the outcomes of the findings. Practical implications – Findings from this study can be applied within the retail and service marketing sector to provide the practitioner with information relevant to decision making on children's influence on parents buyer behavior in-store. Outcomes of the study are also important when considering the future of children's food marketing and tackling the issue of childhood obesity. Originality/value – The paper demonstrates that there is a relationship between packaging and children product preferences and children's influence on parents' buyer decision in-store.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)77-89
JournalYoung Consumers: Insight and Ideas for Responsible Marketers
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

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