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Background : Children’s dietary related diseases and their associated costs have expanded dramatically in many countries, making children’s food choice a policy issue of increasing relevance. As children spend a considerable amount of money on energy dense, nutrient‐poor (EDNP) food products a better understanding of the main drivers of children’s food purchase decisions is crucial to prompt this behavior towards a more health promoting diet. Objective: The objective of the study is to investigate the role of branding and price in motivating children to choose healthier snack options. Methods: The study investigates snack choices of children ages 8 to 11 based on a survey and a purchase experiment. The research took place in after‐school programs of selected schools in the Boston area. 118 children took part in the study. Products in the choice experiment differed on three attributes, namely, product type (chocolate chip cookie as less healthy, and apple slices and strawberry tube yogurt as more healthy snacks), brand (McDonald’s or generic), and price ($0.30, $0.50, or $0.70). Data was analyzed using aggregated logit models, random parameter logit model and latent class analysis. Results: The results show that children’s purchase deci¬sions are primarily determined by product type with most children showing a high and signifi¬cant pre¬ference for choco¬late chip cookies. Surprisingly, generic products are preferred over the McDonald’s products across the whole sample, though children stating that they like McDonald’s reveal this also in their purchase decision. Prices only prove significant after controlling for whether or not children obtain allowance. Conclusion: First, it is not simple brand awareness but a child’s liking of the brand what determines whether a brand is success¬ful in motivating a child to choose a product and potentially a healthier option. Second, the extent of chil¬dren’s experience with money influences their price responsiveness. To the extent that children who receive allowance are primarily the once buying food snacks, higher prices for EDNP snacks could be success¬ful in motivating children to choose the healthier option.


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