Study suggests kids are aware of what food is good for them

Posted by Isobel Drake on 10th August 2009

Despite not always eating what’s good for them, kids know healthy foods from those that aren’t, according to a new study by American-based foodservice consultant Technomic and kid-focused brand marketing agency C3.

The research found that nearly nine out of ten kids are aware that fresh vegetables and fresh whole fruits are healthy. Other foods named healthy by kids included salad (78 per cent), steamed vegetables (76 per cent) and eggs (72 per cent). At least half said that fish, cheese, chicken and peanut butter are healthy as well.

“Kids now are health savvy, and the nutritional education they’ve received will impact their choices as consumers,” Darren Tristano, EVP at Technomic, suggested. “Health halo attributes related to natural, organic, local and sustainable foods could present an opportunity in the coming years for restaurants (and manufacturers) that recognise this growing awareness on the part of young consumers.”

The findings are part of the new Kids & Moms Consumer Trend Report, which also discovered that salads are now among the leading entrée items on kids’ menus at full-service restaurants thanks to their appeal to kids at the higher end of the kids’ menu age range. Much of the growth in healthy options has been seen in beverages and side-items.

As for specific choices at restaurants, older kids (ages 10-12) prefer steak, seafood and salads, while children under nine prefer chicken fingers, pizza and French fries.

“Especially in the current marketplace, it is more important than ever to know your target audience,” Randy Jordan, C3 President, said. “By understanding today’s kids and families and what motivates their dining-out decisions and how that has changed over the last several years, restaurants and foodservice operators can adapt and develop strategies that satisfy their motivations.”