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In what is sure to be seen as a controversial move, MOM’s Organic Market is discontinuing products with packages featuring cartoon characters from children’s books, films and TV. The items are being replaced with organic alternatives in cartoon-free packaging.
“Marketing to children is wrong and should be illegal,” said MOM’s founder and CEO Scott Nash, a father of three. “Advertising is a shady game. It focuses on creating a shallow emotional attachment instead of pointing out the merits of a product. Unfortunately, it works -- and young children are particularly susceptible.”
“Using beloved media characters to sell kids on a particular brand of food is wrong, even if it’s healthy food,” asserted Susan Linn, director of the Boston-based Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood. “Children should not be trained to pick foods based on the cartoon on the box. We congratulate MOM’s for taking this courageous stance on behalf of families and urge other companies to follow suit.”
Not everyone was as supportive of MOM’s decision to ax all products targeting kids via popular cartoon characters on the packaging, however.
While agreeing that the move “makes complete sense when it comes to food that we should be eating less of, Elizabeth Pivonka, president and CEO of the Produce for Better Health Foundation in Hockessin, Del., thought it was “a bit rash to eliminate all foods with characters, since some of these characters are being marketed on foods that we should be eating more of, specifically fruit and vegetables.”
According to a recent report by the Federal Trade Commission, major food and beverage brands spent $1.79 billion marketing to children in 2009, including more than $80 million on licensing fees for cartoons and other popular characters.
Rockville, Ad.-based MOM’s operates 10 stores in the Washington-Baltimore region.