January 15, 2013 – MOM's Organic Market, the Washington-Baltimore region’s family owned organic grocer, is taking action to eliminate marketing to children. The grocery store is discontinuing products with packaging that features cartoon characters from children's books, films and TV. Products ranging from Dora the Explorer frozen soybeans to Elmo juice boxes will be discontinued and replaced with organic alternatives in cartoon-free packaging.
"Marketing to children is wrong and should be illegal,” says Scott Nash, founder and CEO of MOM's. “Advertising is a shady game. It focuses on creating a shallow emotional attachment instead of pointing out the merits of a product. Unfortunately, it works – and young children are particularly susceptible.” Nash, a father of three, first noticed the prevalence of cartoons on products marketed to children when his three-year-old daughter begged her mother to buy a breakfast cereal co-branded with Clifford the Big Red Dog.
A recent report by the FTC showed that major food and beverage brands spent $1.79 billion marketing to children in 2009, including over $80 million on licensing fees for cartoons and other popular characters. “Using beloved media characters to sell kids on a particular brand of food is wrong, even if it’s healthy food,” said Susan Linn, Director of the Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood. “Children should not be trained to pick foods based on the cartoon on the box. We congratulate MOM’s for taking this courageous stance on behalf of families and urge other companies to follow suit.”