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“What brand do you eat?” The influence of food brands within children’s peer groups

Valérie Hemar-Nicolas (RITM - Paris Sud University, Paris, France)
Mathilde Gollety (Panthéon Assas University (Paris II), Paris, France)
Coralie Damay (ISC Business School, Paris, France)
Pascale Ezan (Neoma Business School, University of Rouen, Rouen, France)

Young Consumers

ISSN: 1747-3616

Article publication date: 17 August 2015




This paper aims to explore the role played by food brands within children’s peer groups when they have a meal together.


Sixty-four elementary-aged children participated in one of ten organized snack times (five with unbranded products, five with branded products). Based on a qualitative methodology, data collection methods comprise observations and focus groups with the children.


Children mostly select the products according to their taste preference regardless of the brand name. They make individual decisions and are hardly influenced by their peers. Children use food brands as a common language to designate products, but they do not use them to convey their self-identity and enhance social integration.

Research limitations/implications

This research contributes to a better understanding of the way children use food brands within peer group, and may be helpful when considering the future of children’s food marketing and tackling the issue of childhood obesity.


Whereas prior research has mostly studied the social value allocated by children to durable goods’ brands, such as clothing and electronic items, very few previous studies have focused on food brands.



Hemar-Nicolas, V., Gollety, M., Damay, C. and Ezan, P. (2015), "“What brand do you eat?” The influence of food brands within children’s peer groups", Young Consumers, Vol. 16 No. 3, pp. 316-331.



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Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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