By Kirsty Nolan, Analyst With Canadean
A recent online panel owned by Canadean that is used for customized consumer research — both as a service for businesses and for our own in-house research — surveyed 506 parents with children aged 16 or under. It revealed that 94 percent of the U.K.’s children snack and more than half do so on a daily basis.
There are approximately 12 million children in the U.K., which equates to more than 6 million snacking occasions every day. When asked what foods their children snack on, parents revealed fruit is the most common snack among children, with 67 percent of children snacking on fruit, closely followed by crisps [potato chips] at 65 percent. The remaining top spots were filled with biscuits [sweet cookies] (64 percent), chocolate (42 percent) and confectionery (37 percent). Overall, health remains the key priority. When asked what their children were most likely to snack on, fruit is revealed as the overall snack of choice with one in three children most likely to snack on the natural, sweet treats in either packaged or unpackaged forms.
Parents Worry About Kids Snacking Habits
Parents across the U.K. are increasingly concerned with their children’s snacking habits, which is not surprising given the media attention surrounding the issue of rising childhood obesity levels. In the same survey, one in three parents expressed concern regarding their child’s weight. Approximately 40 percent expressed concern about snacking and overall dietary habits, and more than half worry whether their children are eating enough fruits and vegetables.
Snacking Market Rife With Opportunities
The findings of the survey highlight a number of opportunities for snacking companies. There is a definite need for healthy snacks for children. More parents want to incorporate the “5 A Day,” which is the generally accepted healthy daily quantity of fruit and vegetable portions, into their children’s diets.
In its simplest form, this can be packaged fresh fruit, conveniently prepared and packed in a bag ideal for lunch boxes or on-the-go snacking. The Asda supermarket chain has an extensive private label range of children’s fruit products that appeal to parents because the pre-packaged fruit bags provide kids with one of the “5 A Day.” Processed options are also growing in popularity. Organix, a British company specializing in baby and toddler foods, has a range of fruit snacking bars under its ‘Goodies’ brand. The label provides one of the recommended “5 A Day,” while also promising to be 100 percent organic and containing no added sugar, artificial flavors or colors. Along with the health benefits, parents also like the extended shelf-life of processed fruit products, as they can be stored more easily than fresh fruit.
What Does This Mean For Marketers?
To market child snacking products successfully, it must be remembered that health is key, closely followed by convenience. As much as parents want their children to eat healthfully, a snacking occasion must remain convenient from the perspective of both parent and child. Further, a product must taste good in order for it to be successful in the kid’s market. Although an adult may consume a product for health reasons alone, this simply isn’t the case among the youngest consumers.
Marketers are faced with the task of communicating a product’s health and taste benefits in an already saturated marketplace. The purchasers of these products are mostly busy parents; these consumers do not have time to waste on food shopping, so the message to them needs to be loud and instantaneous. If a processed fruit product can still be classified as one of the recommended “5 A Day,” then don’t be afraid to highlight this on the packaging and in the marketing campaign, this extends to single portions of fresh fruit. Parents want to be able to quickly tally their child’s intake to ensure they are getting the nutrients they require — why shouldn’t marketers make this task easier for them?