Have you ever bought or tried something new, just because of the way it looked, or the nice box that it came in? On your birthday, which present do you pick to open first? The one that looks big and colorful and exciting or the one that is wrapped in old tissue paper? The way that something is packaged and wrapped often advertises what is inside. But can attractive, exciting packaging convince you to try something that might not be very exciting, but is, perhaps, something that is good for you? In this human behavior science fair project you will investigate whether exciting packaging can convince children to eat healthier foods. Objective
The goal of this human behavior science fair project is to investigate whether exciting packaging can convince children to eat healthier foods. Credits
Michelle Maranowski, PhD, Science Buddies
This project is based on the following California State Science Fair project: Beecher, A. (2008). Could a Cute Package Make Kids Eat More Healthy Food? California State Science Fair 2008. Introduction
Have you every walked down the cereal aisle in the grocery store while helping with the grocery shopping? Perhaps you've noticed that many of the cereals aimed at children have colorful and exciting boxes or packaging. But what is packaging and what is the function of packaging? Packaging is a product's container, label, and graphic design. Its purpose is to protect its contents from damage, to provide information to the consumer, and to add appeal to the product. A product's packaging also acts as the product's "salesman" The packaging promotes the product, it attracts the consumer's attention, and it encourages impulse buying. Many of the products that are targeted for children, like candy and treats, are brightly colored and have innovative packaging, because that is what attracts children. In 2006, major food and beverage marketers spent over 1 billion dollars promoting their products to kids under the age of 17 years. Included in this amount is the cost of fancy packaging. Recently, diet, health, and nutrition have been featured heavily in the media. According to the World Health Organization, over 1 billion adults and 22 million children (under the age of 5 years) worldwide are overweight. Many food and beverage companies have received negative feedback that colorful packaging and the use of cartoon characters to advertise nutritionally poor foods leads to poor eating, and that they should stop using these techniques to sell to children. But what would happen if the tables were turned? What would happen if colorful packaging contained healthy food, like carrots? Would children be attracted to the packaging and eat the carrots? In this human behavior science fair project, you will investigate if colorful packaging can convince 1st graders to eat carrots. Have fun doing this project, and don't forget to eat your carrots! Terms and Concepts
What is the purpose of packaging?
Do you like to buy things in colorful packaging? Look through your pantry and investigate if packaging plays a factor in how your family shops for food. Look through your pantry and refrigerator. Does healthy food come packaged in exciting and colorful packaging? Experimental Procedure
Preparing the Experiment
Since you will be working with human subjects, you need to get advance permission from the children's parents or guardians (and teachers if you are performing the test while they are in school) to make sure that it is alright for the children to participate in the science fair project. There are special considerations when designing an experiment involving human subjects. Intel ISEF-affiliated (International Science and Engineering) fairs often require an Informed Consent Form for every participant who is questioned. Consult the rules and regulations of the science fair that you are entering, prior to performing experiments or...
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