Doing it for the kids

The news that Unilever is changing its marketing plans towards children comes as no surprise. The focus of governments globally has been towards reducing sugar and helping to remove the pressure of pester power on adults, when it comes to children’s products. By the end of 2020, every ice cream in the kids’ range at Unilever will have no more than 110 calories and a maximum of 12g of sugar per portion. This will reassure parents and government regulators alike.

So, the era of a cuddly tiger or another children’s television cartoon character selling ice cream to children is coming to a close. Not sure how I feel about that. I quite like the animals selling me everything from corn flakes to toilet roll, but I understand the issues involved.

Maybe because my child pesters me about things like Xbox controllers now, I have forgotten being nagged about buying sweet treats. Truthfully, we never say no to ice cream at our house. The discussion is about scoop versus sticks. Often both. I would prefer that he eats ice cream than head to the corner shop for a pile of sugary sweets in a bag. There is so much more nutrition and fulfilment in ice cream, in my thinking.

Perhaps building a less sweet palate is desirable, but this does seem to be on a country by country basis. Over in the UK, removing sugar by the food and beverage industry has been happening for years now. This affects how a consumer perceives things, I suspect. Even the smaller ones.

But the removal of sugar doesn’t always work. In ice cream, for example, sugar adds more than just sweetness. That elusive mouthfeel and creaminess is tied to sugar as well. Recent product innovations by some ice cream companies have fallen flat at our house, because it just doesn’t taste as the child expected it to.

It’s an ongoing issue. I may need a cone to think about this further.

Image credit: Unilever

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