This week's lucky "winner"... Yoplait Go-Gurt!
While only clocking in at 70 calories per tube, and not boasting as many questionable ingredients as certain other processed snacks, the second ingredient in Go-Gurt is sugar. In his book Salt Sugar Fat, Michael Moss first brings up Go-Gurt in a chapter appropriately titled "exploiting the biology of the child". This refers to the facts that a) humans are hard-wired from birth to like sweetness, and b) children like sweetness even more than adults.
Manufacturers use added sugar (in addition to fat, salt, other ingredients, and clever marketing) to maximize the attractiveness of processed foods to children, which results in higher sales and consumption. Though most of the people reading this probably don't relish the thought of eating a tube of sweet processed goo, I'm sure we can all remember a time in our youth when this sort of thing would have appealed to us.
Moss's book has given me a greater appreciation for marketing as a powerful force that acts in concert with food reward to drive sales and consumption of processed food. In the case of Go-Gurt, we have a product that is carefully calculated to appeal to children. Note the brightly-colored familiar characters on the package, and brightly colored yogurt. Even more importantly, Go-Gurt eliminates the need for a spoon, allowing a child to squeeze the goo directly into his mouth. This is the ultimate in convenience, and also has the cool factor, which should not be underestimated as a sales tool. Status is just as important to children as it is to adults, but children measure it differently.
Go-Gurt is a good example of the carefully calculated use of food reward and marketing to target children.
Image credit: www.t-nation.com.