When it comes to small children and food, plastic is a dream material. It is relatively cheap to manufacture and buy and will not break easily if it is dropped. It is safe for small children to use on their own with little fear of them hurting themselves or others around them.
For tiny tots and babies a regular feeding pattern is a must, and when travelling this can be achieved with a portable bottle and jar warmer (1). This device can heat the canned or bottled food via a car's cigarette lighter. The Tommee Tippee bowl (2) can be used to transport food. Its spoon, which clips neatly into the lid, will change colour if the food is too hot to prevent any scolded mouths.
The bird shaped bottle (3) has a carrying strap and integral drinking straw. The straw can be easily drunk from without spilling a drop, and then held in place at the back of the cap.
Ergonomically, small hands need to have a bigger area on which to grip. This fork and spoon set (4) has oversized handles and a soft, grippy surface to assist small hands to grab and maintain contact with it. To aid control, the sippy cup (5) has two handles and a soft mouth piece.
Manufacturers of snack foods are acutely aware that young children love cartoon characters such as Bugs Bunny (6) and the Teenage Mutant Hero Turtles (7) and others (8 - 12). The association of these characters with a product will encourage the child to want to choose it over a duller alternative. Food producers also know that if a product has characters from an educational programme, such as Sesame Street (13), parents are even more likely to buy it.
Buying rights to use the images of well known characters is very expensive for companies. They will often elect to create generic or specifically designed characters such as cute animals (14 - 16), scary monsters (17 - 18), generic characters (19 - 30), shapes (31), or seasonal colours (32 - 34) to keep costs down. Some children have more of a passion for football (35 - 36), computer games (37), or films (38), rather than cartoons and this will be reflected in the kinds of products they or their families purchase.
Young people have never had so much disposable income before, and manufacturers are keen to get them to spend their pocket money on the 'right' products. Companies try to create a lifestyle choice for the teenager and they rely on peer pressure and the natural desire to fit in to help product sales.
To show how cool a lifestyle you lead, is it important that you are drinking Coca-Cola (39) or can a bottle of corner shop own-brand Cola be just as trendy?