Wednesday, February 23, 2005

UK: Who knew Winnie the Pooh can befuddled parents?

"The use of cartoon characters to sell unhealthy food is boosting Britain's childhood obesity epidemic, campaigners said yesterday. Which?, the consumers' organisation, described the use of popular characters such as Scooby-Doo, Bagpuss and Winnie the Pooh on some products as "manipulative marketing ploys" which made it more difficult for parents to refuse their children these foods. Coinciding with its publication of a list of "the worst offenders", Which? called on the companies which license film and television cartoon characters to behave more responsibility over the foods they endorsed. Miranda Watson, from Which?, said: "Parents feel they are being manipulated by the use of these cartoon characters on a wealth of unhealthy food products. The message we are getting is that they are finding it incredibly difficult and they need help.

The group criticised 18 products, saying each contained worrying levels of fat, salt or sugar and sometimes all three. Among them were Nestlé Golden Nuggets cereal, endorsed by The Incredibles, which had 40g of sugar per 100g of cereal, and HP pasta shapes with pictures of Bagpuss, which contained 3.75g of salt - more than the Food Standards Agency's recommended daily limit for a child aged between one and six. Other foods were "endorsed" by Bob the Builder, Shrek, The Simpsons, Postman Pat and Action Man. "

If you are being manipulated by Bob the Builder, you got bigger problems.

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