Elmo Stickers Help Sell Fruit to Kids

Researchers found that kids will choose apples over cookies if there's a cartoon sticker on the fruit

If you've been struggling to get your kid to eat an apple or a carrot, here's a trick: put a sticker on it.

Researchers found that kids in elementary school could be swayed to choose an apple over a cookie... if the apple had an Elmo sticker.

"If we're trying to promote healthier foods, we need to be as smart as the companies that are selling the less-healthy foods," Christina Roberto of Harvard School of Public Health told Reuters. "The message should be: fight fire with fire."

Researchers offered an apple, a cookie, or both to 208 kids every day at lunch for a week. When the snacks weren't branded with any stickers, 91 percent of the kids opted for a cookie, while less than a quarter of them took an apple.

When an Elmo sticker (or other character stickers) were slapped onto the apples, 37 percent of the kids took an apple. Stickers on cookies, however, didn't affect the percentage of takers. We should've expected that.