Organic “Kid Marketing”– Feeling the Onslaught?

March 5th, 2008

So long, Tony the Tiger. Hello, Peter the Probug.

I’ve posted here about how my son recognizes “Kid Marketing” at the grocery store as the hydrogenated oil and sugar-laden processed treats that are major no-nos.

Suddenly, it’s getting a lot harder to say “no” to “Kid Marketing,” because my son also recognizes the USDA Organic Seal. Now he says sweetly, “But Mama, it’s organic! It must be good for you even if it is Kid Marketing.”

A Five Year Old’s Dream Organic

And most times, he’s right…the “Organic Kid Marketing” products may still be good for him, but they often cost several times the price of conventional organics, which are already expensive enough!

I imagine that if my kid wouldn’t eat anything healthy at all, I might welcome the overtures of the organic kid marketers. But since he was doing fine with regular old organics, the organic kid marketing hype is an annoyance.

Is anyone else sharing my feelings of resentment at the onslaught of Kid Marketing at the organic grocers? It used to be that organic shops were a refuge from Tony the Tiger, Lucky the Lucky Charms Leprechaun and all the other Kid Marketing icons. I could take my son with me to the organic market, buy a carton of yogurt, some bulk oatmeal, and be done with the shopping with a minimum of fuss and whining.

But I knew I was in for it last week when my son breathlessly told me after school one day, “Katie has the coolest yogurt at lunch. I want some! It’s orange and it’s ORGANIC!”

At the organic market that afternoon, he pointed at a garish orange four-pack of Lifeway Organic Probiotic Whole Milk Kefir Cultured Milk Smoothies. That particular day, I was too tired to say no …it was after all organic and it was just yogurt.

But later I realized that I already have several large containers of biodynamic yogurt in the fridge, courtesy of our CSA. And he liked that yogurt just fine. So why was he so insistent on this yogurt?

“Well, it tastes good,” he responded.

I reminded him that we had plenty of yogurt in the fridge that tastes good.

“It’s ORANGE. My favorite color,” he announced.

“And?” I prodded.

“And it has an alien on it too!”

So I’m buying more yogurt with more packaging because my son wants orange packages with aliens? (Actually, it’s Peter the probiotic bug, according to the packaging).

Look, this story is a bit embarrassing to tell, but I know I’m not alone here…am I? Tell me, what’s been your experience with “Organic Kid Marketing.” Are you starting to feel the onslaught too?

Or is it just the products that has me down? Perhaps. Why don’t the frozen vegetables come with aliens on their bags? Works for me!

— Lynn

Copyright OrganicMania 2008

6 Responses to “Organic “Kid Marketing”– Feeling the Onslaught?”

  1. jeneflower on March 5, 2008 6:33 am

    The only kid marketing in our store is the Envirokidz brand and my kids think there cereal is akin to dog food. I have to agree that it isn’t very good.

    So I stick with the Cascadian Farms Honey O and granola cereal which they all like better and they don’t advertise to kids.

    Lucky you! Thanks for sharing! I just noticed that Honest Kids isn’t overtly marketed to Kids either. I’m interviewing the CEO tomorrow and I’m going to ask him how they made that decision….I bet it was an interesting discussion! — Lynn

  2. The Not Quite Crunchy Parent on March 5, 2008 6:54 am

    I hear you Lynn,

    I’m disturbed by the way mainstream licensed characters are appearing at Whole Foods. Once free of character marketing, now we who shop organic have the same pressures.

    I’ve decided I’m OK with cute images on kids products. I’m not OK with characters. IF it’s not a licensed character…it shouldn’t be more expensive than regular organic products and …I’ll just eat the kid friendly ones too- what’s inherently wrong with a picture that appeals to kids – we buy yogurt with pictures that appeal to adults?

    If it supports TV shows and movies and/or encourages consumerism…well then I might have a problem.

    Great post incidentally – submit to skirt..I’m stumbling!

    Thanks, MC, for your thoughts, compliment, and suggestion. Hey folks, MC is an expert on marketing to children! Check out her blog at

    And by the way, I didn’t see this product at Whole Foods…I saw it at a smaller regional organic chain (My Organic Market).

  3. Sue on March 6, 2008 7:38 am

    Hey Lynn,

    I’ve had similar experiences, so here’s how we deal with it. I tell each kid that they can pick out one item each at the store, no questions asked (healthy, but typical kid marketed). After that, it’s my choice. I find that this is a good compromise and sometimes they surprise me-organic pears or bananas anyone. However, often times I will have 2 overpriced, kid-marketed items in the cart. Sometimes, when I don’t what to go through the kid-marketing run I will sneak off to the store without them.

    I’m really looking forward to your interview with the CEO of Honest Kids-way to go.

    Great ideas, Sue! Thanks for sharing. Just got back from meeting with him. He was way cool and the Honest Tea offices are amazing. It will be such a fun interview to share – now I gotta get to work on it! :) — Lynn

  4. Kristen on March 9, 2008 4:37 pm

    Thank you for sharing this. I am relatively new to the organic scene (I started after my first child started on solids a little less than a year ago) but have always been concerned about marketing to children.

    I may not be recommending anything new here, but the book Buy Buy Baby by Susan Gregory Thomas addresses the marketing issue at length and is a good motivator to avoid products, including food, that use children’s characters to market themselves.

    Keep up the very interesting blog!

    Hi Kristen, thanks so much for stopping by and for the book recommendation! — Lynn

  5. cheryl on September 8, 2008 8:14 am

    Hi Lynn,

    I’ve been looking through your blog and I love it!

    It’s amazing how children are bombarded with ads and pressures to want what everyone else has from such a young age. I’m sorry that organic lines are jumping on the bandwagon, too.

    Disney had plans to start putting characters on bags of fruit, but I haven’t seen that happen yet. We shall see!

  6. Organic and Green Mom Blog | My Take on Expo West at Organic Mania on March 18, 2010 7:45 pm

    […] was a great experience, and despite my good natured complaining about Food Porn and Organic Kid Marketing, I hope to make it back to the show again next […]

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