Public Release: 

Look-alike smart snacks: Are they benefiting student nutrition or brand marketing?

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News


IMAGE: Childhood Obesity is a bimonthly peer-reviewed journal, published in print and online, and the journal of record for all aspects of communication on the broad spectrum of issues and strategies... view more

Credit: ©Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers

New Rochelle, NY, October 24, 2016--When Smart Snacks sold in schools-reformulated versions of less nutritious snacks sold in stores--are packaged to look like their commercial counterparts, consumer confusion is likely, compromising dietary health gains and affecting perceptions about both brands and schools, according to an article in Childhood Obesity, a peer-reviewed journal from Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers. The article is available free on the Childhood Obesity website until November 28, 2016.

Jennifer Harris, PhD, MBA and Marlene Schwartz, PhD, University of Connecticut, Hartford, and Maia Hyary, MPA, Brandeis University, Waltham, MA, examine these issues in the article entitled "Effects of Offering Look-Alike Products as Smart Snacks in Schools". The researchers compared how students and parents rated look-alike Smart Snacks and store versions of the same snacks based on taste, healthfulness, and intent to purchase. The finding that most of the study participants wrongly believed that they had seen Smart Snacks sold in stores demonstrated consumer confusion. The authors caution that the look-alike Smart Snacks available in schools could lead people to believe that the same brands sold in stores meet similar nutritional standards.

"This important study highlights the confusion students and parents experience when viewing nutritionally different versions of similar food items marketed in schools versus in stores," says Childhood Obesity Editor-in-Chief Tom Baranowski, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX. "The fact that students rated the healthier versions of the snacks as equal in taste to the unhealthy versions is an important milestone for healthy snacks. Hopefully this article will lead to a national discussion about what types of foods parents, students, and citizens in general want offered in schools."


About the Journal

Childhood Obesity is a bimonthly peer-reviewed journal, published in print and online, and the journal of record for all aspects of communication on the broad spectrum of issues and strategies related to weight management and obesity prevention in children and adolescents. Led by Editor-in-Chief Tom Baranowski, PhD, Baylor College of Medicine, and Editor Elsie M. Taveras, MD, MPH, Massachusetts General Hospital for Children & Harvard Medical School, the Journal provides authoritative coverage of new weight management initiatives, early intervention strategies, nutrition, clinical studies, comorbid conditions, health disparities and cultural sensitivity issues, community and public health measures, and more. Complete tables of content and a sample issue may be viewed on the Childhood Obesity website.

About the Publisher

Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers is a privately held, fully integrated media company known for establishing authoritative medical and biomedical peer-reviewed journals, including Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders, Population Health Management, Diabetes Technology & Therapeutics (DTT), and Journal of Women's Health. Its biotechnology trade magazine, GEN (Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News), was the first in its field and is today the industry's most widely read publication worldwide. A complete list of the firm's 80 journals, newsmagazines, and books is available on the Mary Ann Liebert, Inc., publishers website.

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