Packaging warning as study shows children pick bottles with their name
Soft-drink companies could face a clampdown on packaging after new research showed children are more likely to chose a brand if it has their name on the bottle.
The Irish study looked at the choices of more than 400 children in six schools ranging from eight to 13 years.
It found that while children are most likely to chose fizzy drinks, the personalisation of the bottles increases uptake by 9pc. And while fewer children automatically opt for a healthy drink, the uptake jumped by 17pc when the name of a child was on it.
Psychologist Fionna McDarby, who carried out the research, said it raised questions about the need for greater regulation of the soft drinks industry.
"It's a subtle campaign but it is working for companies like Coca Cola, that is why Nutella are starting the same strategy. We need to review whether we need to put more regulation on the type of packaging multinational companies use," she said.
However, she added the findings make it clear such marketing campaigns can be used to promote healthy drinks more successfully.
"I think we need to look at the wider picture and consider using this strategy to promote healthy drinks. We should use their own strategy against them," she said.
The schools included two city, two town and two rural schools and 50pc were in disadvantaged areas.
Researchers found when children in one group were offered drinks with the original labels, 83pc were likely to chose an unhealthy drink with no additional enticement. This increased by 9pc when children were presented with sugary drinks with their name on it.
While only 17pc of children chose a healthy drink, this doubled to 34pc when their name was on it.