As the mother of a 2-year-old, I’m very aware of whenever my son’s favorite characters are within earshot.

And my local H.E. Butt isn’t helping.

Cartoons on produce prove hard to resist

Pamela Riemenschneider
Aisle Wandering

As we round the corner from dairy to the checkout aisle, they have a television set up with she who shall not be named, the Latina Siren, blaring in the aisle. (Dora the Explorer, for those who aren’t down with the 2-year-olds.)

The pointing and “gimme gimme” ensues and I have to practically drag him around the corner — until he remembers there is a Bert and Ernie ride-on toy on the other side of the checkout lanes.

Good tactic?

I’ve seen a wide range of responses to character branded produce lately. One blog I follow posted a photo of a box of character branded clementines the other day, expressing horror that the major movie studio had invaded produce.

I was curious, so I put the question to my online mom’s group that I use for “The Cart’s Eye View” on the ProduceRetailer.com blog. These ladies live all over the U.S., with a few in Europe, and have kids ranging from newborn to high-school age.

I asked how their kids react to produce that is marketed to them and I got some encouraging results.

Mommy view

One, a mom of four who lives in Pittsburgh, said her son “wants to eat whatever his Noggin or Sesame Street friends are eating. So, when he’s watching Elmo talk about bananas, he wants bananas. When Kai-Lan is picking apples, he wants apples. Seeing favorite characters eat good-for-you-foods really inspires kids to follow suit.”

Sesame Street helped another mom of two in Washington, D.C. Although they don’t watch commercials, she said “last week we watched Sesame Street with asparagus on, and my son (a 2-year-old) wanted some for dinner that night.”

Another mom, who has three kids and lives in Kentucky, said her kids love the cartoon characters stuck on produce.

“Oddly enough,” she said. “This happens frequently with the Chiquita bananas and the stickers they place on them.”

To see what the rest of the moms have to say about character-branded produce, check out the ProduceRetailer.com blog.

E-mail pamelar@thepacker.com

What's your take on cartoons marketing healthful eating to kids? Leave a comment and tell us your opinion.