Posted by Barbara Meltz  August 8, 2007 05:08 PM

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Try this at home. Take two pieces of the same McDonald's food product, rewrap one in a plain wrapper, then ask your preschooler to taste them both. According to a Stanford Unviersity study released today, the typical child will say the one in the McD's wrapping tastes better even though they are exactly the same. The conclusion of the study is that branding is powerful enough to trump children's sensory input. Put another way: our children are growing up to trust a McDonalds more than their own judgement. Yikes! That's a marketer's dream, alright.

So now for the food fight. Click here to watch a video of today's Today Show. Be patient. The fireworks erupt in the second portion of the clip, between Susan Linn of Harvard's Judge Baker center and a food industry spokesman. I guess you can tell which side I'm on, huh?

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Barbara F. Meltz is a freelance writer, parenting consultant, and author of "Put Yourself in Their Shoes: Understanding How Your Children See the World." She won several awards for her weekly "Child Caring" column in the Globe, including the 2008 American Psychological Association Print Excellence award. Barbara is available as a speaker for parent groups.

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