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They may not always eat what’s good for them, but children are aware of what they should be eating. According to new study by foodservice consultant Technomic and C3, a kid-focused brand marketing agency based in Overland Park, Kan., almost nine out of 10 kids surveyed said that fresh vegetables and fresh whole fruits are healthy. Among the other foods they identified as healthy were salad (78 percent), steamed vegetables (76 percent) and eggs (72 percent). At least half said that fish, cheese, chicken and peanut butter are healthy, too.
“Kids now are health savvy, and the nutritional education they’ve received will impact their choices as consumers,” noted Darren Tristano, EVP at Chicago-based Technomic.
The findings are part of the “Kids & Moms Consumer Trend Report (Family Attitudes and Motivations in Foodservice),” which is designed to help restaurant operators and suppliers understand dining behavior, attitudes and preferences of mothers and their children. The report, which employs data gathered in a May 2009 survey of 1,500 mothers and 1,200 kids ages 6 to 12, also examines marketing programs aimed at children, and looks at current and upcoming trends in kids’ dining. Additional findings include:
--The meal preferences of 10- to 12-year-old kids vary from those of younger children. When given the opportunity to create a meal, older kids are far more likely than younger ones to select steak, seafood and salads, while children age 9 and under will more often opt for chicken fingers, pizza and French fries.
--Aside from the growth of healthy side-item options, much of the development in healthier food and drink items is in kids’ beverage selections and in increasing the number of items described as organic or natural.