Thursday, August 09, 2007

McDonald's vs. McDonald's: Winner? McDonald's!

According to a story in this week's QSR Magazine:
"Kids don't just ask for food from McDonald's," said Thomas Robinson, MD, director of the Center for Healthy Weight at Packard Children's and associate professor of pediatrics and of medicine at the School of Medicine. "They actually believe that the chicken nugget they think is from McDonald's tastes better than an identical, unbranded nugget."


... researchers studied the taste preferences of 63 children between the ages of 3 and 5 who were enrolled in six Head Start centers in San Mateo County, Calif. The children sampled five foods: chicken nuggets, a hamburger, french fries, baby carrots and milk. The chicken nuggets, hamburger and french fries were all from McDonald's; the carrots and milk were purchased from a grocery store. Robinson and his colleagues chose to specifically study McDonald's because the company is the largest fast-food advertiser in the United States and most study subjects would likely be familiar with the brand.

Each food sample was divided into two identical portions, one wrapped in a McDonald's wrapper or placed in a McDonald's bag, and the other in similar wrapping without the McDonald's logo. The children were randomly asked to taste first one and then the other of the five identical, differently packaged, pairs of food samples and indicate whether they tasted the same or which they thought tasted better. With four out of the five foods — chicken nuggets, fries, carrots and milk — significantly more children pegged the McDonald's product as tastier, despite the fact that the foods were exactly the same.

The McChronicles: a blog about, not affiliated with, McDonald's.
Image: QSR logo from


jan-willem said...

Does this not scare you at least a little bit? Doesn't this only oblige the fastfood industry in general to act more responsible when it comes to kids marketing.htt

McChronicles said...

First off, we'd like to say that The McChronicles is NOT a psychologist. So we're just expressing our opinion.

That said, the findings seem to make a lot of sense. People develop brand preferences based on all sorts of primal reasons. And who among us is more primal than a kid?

Therefore, it is incumbent on advertisers to seriously respect the power they have over children.

On the flip side, it is impossible to keep kids from being exposed to ALL advertising.

It's a dilemma.

Anonymous said...

It would really taste different if the person who transfered the food from the original wrapper or container to an unbranded one didn't wash his hands. :-)

Kenny said...

We learn that McDonalds is the "Happy Place" from before we even start to walk. Of course nuggets from McDonalds are going to taste better. Because they are Happier. =)


Nothing like a winner.