squashum Yes, we are a marketer’s dream come true. Before I became a mother I might have bought new and possibly advertised products, but simply because they held an attraction due to their potential superior taste or a new-fangled ingredient. I would eschew packaging itself and try see beyond the label. But now, horrifyingly, I find myself scouring the isles for unusually packaged dairy products or individual portion-sizes of fruit. The food itself will be bog standard. Yoghurt. Cheese. Drink. But the packaging – well, the more ‘cute’ and ‘child-friendly’ the better. Oh, never mind those green credentials, here’s where garish plastic rules.

And why? Because they damn well work, that’s why. If there’s one thing small children crave it’s stimulation. Of course, you can’t give in every time. But sometimes, just sometimes, adding a bit of variety to their mealtimes actually makes them eat stuff they’d got bored with ages ago. So when my little ‘un went off yoghurt, I bought those Squashums. At the same time as thinking what the ‘eck am I doing, they cost more per ml, the packaging is an environmental hazard and I’m also risking her never eating a normal pot of yoghurt again. But that morning she squeezed the whole thing dry. And she still does. And – bonus – they travel well too.

Same goes for those cute lil’ Baby Bels, those fab (but prohibitively priced) Ella’s squeezy fruit smoothies and Capri-Sun pouches.

It’s like the battle between wooden toys which you imagined would grace your lovingly decorated nursery and the car-crash of primary-coloured plastic nonsense you end up with – you thought you’d never go there and then, by the grace of toddler happiness, you find yourself also falling in love with these gimmicky, squeezy, slurpy, chooby marketing triumphs. I draw the line at Cheese Strings though…

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