Traditional snacks on top of kids’ wish-list but healthy alternatives gather support

Posted by James Ferre on 25th June 2008

The favourite snacks of children remain confectionery and potato chips but a new survey reports that healthier snacking options are beginning to tried by young children.

The survey required children to list their favourite after school snacks, with 48% of school children aged 11-16 listing potato chips (crisps) among their favourite snacks followed by chocolate/sweets (39%), biscuits/cakes (32%), fruit (32%) and soft drinks (27%). A similar picture emerged for children aged 4-11 years old but fruit came out on top with 54% followed by crisps (51%), biscuits (44%), chocolates/sweets (40%) and soft drinks (24%).

The healthy eating message appears to be getting through, to some extent, judging by the large number of students eating fruit. Additionally, yoghurt and smoothies also emerged as popular among 27% of 11-16 year olds and 42% of 4-11 year olds.

The survey, which was commissioned by the UK Federation of Bakers (FoB), also revealed that 1 in 4 parents admit they struggle to persuade their children to eat healthier snack foods. “We sympathise totally with parents predicament,” nutritionist Fiona Hunter said. “It’s an unrealistic situation to totally ban children from having their favourite treats. A preferable option is to try to balance the treats with more nutritious snack foods.”

The survey highlights that young people and their parents, in particular, are beginning to garner an appreciation for healthier options, but traditional snacks are still likely to remain highly sought after.

Concern about alarming obesity rates has already led to consumer groups seeking to ban junk food advertising to children, considerable growth of health and wellness nutrition, and resulted in many companies seeking to take a healthier slant on products that have long been regarded as “junk-food”. The growth in sales of premium chocolate, which generally contains more cocoa, is one such example of a growing trend.