The licensing industry in the UK was worth approximately £7bn at retail, and £368m in royalties in the UK in 2005.

Overall the industry has remained fairly static during the past five years. Food and beverages account for approximately 7% of the total market.

The largest sectors to licence film and cartoon characters are toys, games and clothing so, for the UK market, character licensing is not a hugely popular way of getting children to buy into food companies.

However, there are key product categories in food, such as yoghurts, canned pasta, confectionery, soft drinks and cereals, which have traditionally used character licensing as a marketing tool to reach children, or rather their parents to buy for their children.

Because of the recent controversy over health issues and childhood obesity, character licensed products aimed at children have attracted more attention than they would have otherwise.