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Minions, the animated yellow creatures that grew from a featured spot in the Despicable Me movies into their own Minions movie, are used to license the most junk foods to children, according to a study.
In a review of franchise-related junk foods over the last year from the London-based Children’s Food Campaign, the Minions were found to be behind six high-sugar snacks and beverages — measured by products that contained more than 22.5 grams of sugar per 100 grams — including Kinder Surprise, Haribo, and Tic Tacs, as well as three medium-sugar products, which contained between five and 22.5 grams of sugar per 100 gram serving. A Minions-exclusive Capri Sun flavor called Ban-Apple, was available only with added sugar.
Star Wars and Frozen, both Disney properties, were also found to be heavily utilized to market unhealthy snacks to young consumers, despite a promise by Disney in 2006 that it would make sure that at least 85 percent of products bearing Disney characters would be healthy.
“It is hard to resist the pester power when your child is swept up in the latest animation or superhero film craze,” said campaign coordinator Malcolm Clark. “Voluntary pledges by film studios and manufacturers seem to be having limited effect in stemming the waves of sugary products using their connection with such movies to appeal to children. When even Disney has admitted as much, you know that self-regulation has had its day.”
In a 2015 study, researchers found that nearly half the television ads for children’s food and drink products were actually aimed at their parents, utilizing “emotional appeals related to family and love,” among other ploys.