Adult trends driving innovation of kids’ food products

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 7th November 2008

Adult tastes are influencing kids’ food like never before as parents want their children’s food to resemble their own in key ways, according to the Kids’ Food Culinary Trend Mapping Report from the Center for Culinary Development (CCD) and Packaged Facts. The report profiles “kid-adult fusion” trends that are behind product innovation in the growing kids’ food market.

“From manufacturers of exciting new foods for babies and toddlers to restaurant operators thinking outside the French fry box and beyond chicken tenders,” Kimberly Egan, CEO of CCD, said. “This is a dynamic market with plenty of untapped potential.”

Better-for-you focus

Just as adults are adding more vegetables to their meals, children benefit from foods with Hidden Nutrition – such as macaroni and cheese with butternut squash and sweet potatoes. Kids are also profiting from many of the same New Functional food benefits in products brimming with omega-3s and probiotics to ensure optimal wellness from the get-go, according to the CCD. As demand amongst adults has risen for functional foods so too has the demand from parents for similar foods for their children.

Mini global gourmets

Parents can now cultivate palates for global cuisines by introducing Asian Flavored foods to their little ones. Asian ingredients, like lentils, coconut and spices, are showing up in emerging kids’ foods, and committed parents are updating tired lunch boxes with colorful Bento Boxes. These homemade lunches include globally inspired mini-portions of nutritious foods in fun, appealing forms with a greater focus on grains and vegetables in re-usable plastic containers that cut down on waste.

Evolution of the menu

The lines are blurring between yesterday’s placemat kids’ menu and the variety-laden adult one. New choices in sides, entrées and beverages allow kids to influence family dining decisions and have a varied, and more nutritious, meal. With obesity of growing public concern parents have been looking for healthier options, which has led to some manufacturers and fast-food restaurants expanding their offering to ensure they can appeal to a wider range of parents and children.