Free toys and games are not as important to children as taste in their choice of a breakfast cereal, according to research from Coutts Retail Communications.

Many major cereal manufacturers give away plastic figurines or CD-ROMS placed inside or attached to the cereal box to encourage children’s “pester power”.

Coutts bi-annual Class research programme, which studies buying trends in children aged between five and 11, found that 48% chose a cereal because it tasted “nice” and 14% because it was healthy. “Interestingly, kids can readily identify what constitutes a healthy choice, although they still opt overwhelmingly for taste as their primary motivator,” said Coutts Retail Communications group marketing manager Catherine Dixon.

Significantly, only 12% said that a free toy or game was their main reason for choosing a cereal. However, Dixon cautioned the figure could be low because children might not be aware of the role that freebies played in influencing their choice.

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