Sometimes I wonder why people spend money to study something obvious. Did we need "experts" to tell us that kids prefer foods in packages decorated with a cartoon character such as Shrek or Dora the Explorer?

Was a study published in the journal Pediatrics really necessary? Well, if you want hard evidence to use in pressuring the food industry, then the study was necessary.

CNN's reports this comment from Marion Nestle, a professor of nutrition, food studies, and public health at New York University: "This study really nails it down. Now we have evidence for asking -- no, requiring -- food marketers to stop using cartoons to market junk foods to kids."

Food companies are already reacting to complaints about the sugar, fat, and salt in their products. In March, PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP) announced its global goals, including cutting "the average saturated fat per serving in key global food brands in key markets by 15 percent by 2020." That same month, Kraft (NYSE: KFT) said it would reduce the salt in its North American products by an average of 10%. General Mills (NYSE: GIS) announced last year that it would further reduce sugar in all cereals advertised to children under 12 to single-digit grams of sugar per serving.

I'm in favor of giving regulators and consumers (of all ages) nutrition information they can use to be healthy. I get a little edgy when children are brought into the equation because it can be a conversation-stopper. I mean, who's going to argue against something meant to benefit the children, in the name of apple pie and baseball? As for the cartoon influence, I say it's up to parents to teach their children that Shrek may be green, but that doesn't mean his snacks are healthy.

PepsiCo is a Motley Fool Income Investor pick. Motley Fool Options has recommended a diagonal call position on PepsiCo. Fool online editor Kris Eddy owns no shares of any stocks mentioned in this article. Try any of our investing newsletters free for 30 days. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy likes daisies.