Photo:Wall Street Journal

Who would have thought that an ogre could boost onion sales?

Well, that is exactly what has happened ever since the Vidalia Onion Committee decided to use the magical powers of “Shrek” to get kids interested in onions. According to a recent Wall Street Journal story, a 3-year old threw a fit when he saw his beloved Shrek standing tall among boxes of onions in a supermarket. His forceful tantrums left his mother with little choice but to buy the onions. She diced the onions in a casserole which her son ate without any fuss.

Selling onions using an ogre may sound weird, but there is a connection between the two. Turns out, they both have layers!

I think this is yet another example of how marketing can be effectively aimed at kids. Except in this case, onions do have a good nutritional value. But more importantly, using them in a home cooked meal is a great way of cutting down on processed foods. Onions are rich in B and C vitamins. They also provide calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, zinc and fiber.

Do you think using popular characters like Shrek is a good way to get kids interested in fruits and veggies? Should this type of marketing be allowed? Food marketing to kids is a hot topic these days and I would love to hear your opinion about it.



  1. calima

    I'd rather see Shrek promoting onions than, say, green popsicles or green breakfast cereal.

  2. I'm a little disturbed by the need to market products specifically to little kids, especially when it is fruits and vegetables. Do we really need characters on cut apples and carrots to get our kids to eat them? Kids are supposed to learn by our example of what we eat, not what Disney or Nickelodeon tell them to eat. Then what we as parents get is to pay more for the same product. Example – we have a favorite freeze-dried fruit product who has also partnered with a big name company. The cost looks the same for both products, but the one with character endorsements actually has less fruit for the money. Instead of getting my daughter to eat something because Dora does, I take her to the farms to pick fruits and encourage her to cook with me in the kitchen. It takes a little more work, but it's worth the effort.

  3. TwinToddlersDad

    Hi Michelle
    You have a great point! Kudos to you for encouraging your daughter to learn about food and cooking. This is a great way to build healthy eating habits from an early age.
    All marketing – food or otherwise – relies on some form of endorsement to convince the consumer that the product is worth buying. The trouble with using cartoon characters, is that they are aimed at kids so they “demand” the product, instead of convincing parents that the product offers good value. This is very sneaky. I hope all parents can develop a healthy paranoia about such advertising and buy only when they are convinced of the value.

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