Promotion of healthy diets often involves provision of information about which food types are most favourable for health. This is based on the assumption that the rational consumer will, other things being equal, choose the food that they know is healthier. However, health information may not always have a positive effect, since there is evidence that some people, particularly children, believe that healthiness and tastiness are mutually exclusive characteristics. To the extent that taste governs preferences and consumption, the characterization of a food as healthy could reduce its anticipated pleasantness. The present study tested the idea that a `healthy' label would reduce liking for a novel drink. The results showed that the children rated a `healthy labelled' drink as less pleasant and said they would be less likely to ask their parents to buy it than the same drink presented with control information. These results suggest that care may need to be exercised in promoting foods to children through an emphasis on health, unless the implications of healthiness can be rendered more positive.
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