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Children’s Eating Habits - Ireland - February 2017

“Parents consider regular exercise as the most important step to improving children’s health and diet. This reflects the increasingly sedentary lifestyles of children and with technology a significant contributor to this, utilising bloggers, vloggers and YouTube channels, for example, can help brands to encourage children to take more exercise and extend their influence into new areas.”
– James Wilson, Research Analyst

This Report discusses the following key questions:

  • What are parents doing to improve children’s eating habits at home?
  • What can the foodservice industry do to boost their appeal to families?
  • What steps are important to improving children’s health and diet?

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Issues covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • Market factors
            • Weight remains an issue for Irish children
              • Parents struggling on kids portion sizes
                • Soft drinks a significant source of sugar for children
                  • New rules will make it harder for food and drink brands to reach children in UK
                    • Companies, brands and innovations
                      • The consumer
                        • Children encouraged to snack on fresh fruit and vegetables
                          • Figure 1: Agreement with statements relating to children’s eating habits while at home, NI and RoI, November 2016
                        • Greater variety on kid’s menus important to Irish parents
                          • Figure 2: Agreement with statements relating to children’s eating habits outside of the home, NI and RoI, November 2016
                        • Regular exercise important for children’s health
                          • Figure 3: Steps that consumers feel are important to improve their children’s health and diet, NI and RoI, November 2016
                        • Irish parents prefer sweet-free checkouts
                          • Figure 4: Agreement with statements relating to children and grocery shopping, NI and RoI, November 2016
                        • What we think
                        • Issues and Insights

                          • What are parents doing to improve children’s eating habits at home?
                            • The facts
                              • The implications
                                • What can the foodservice industry do to boost their appeal to families?
                                  • The facts
                                    • The implications
                                      • What steps are important to improving children’s health and diet?
                                        • The facts
                                          • The implications
                                          • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                            • Childhood obesity continues to be an issue in Ireland
                                              • Children are overeating
                                                • Sugar taxes are coming
                                                  • Legislation to make it harder for brands to reach children in the UK
                                                  • Market Drivers

                                                    • Weight issues continue to affect children
                                                      • Figure 5: Obesity levels in children aged 2-15, NI, 2012-16
                                                    • Under-5s in RoI the heaviest in Europe
                                                      • Figure 6: Percentage of under-5s classed as overweight or obese, EU, 2015
                                                    • Children eating more than they need
                                                      • Inactivity prevalent among Irish children
                                                        • Figure 7: Physical activity levels of children aged 0-18, RoI, 2010
                                                      • RoI launches its first physical activity programme to tackle obesity
                                                        • Consumers with children eat from scratch but time pressures make it hard to eat healthily
                                                          • Figure 8: Agreement with statements relating to healthy eating, by age of children in household, NI, August 2016
                                                          • Figure 9: Agreement with statements relating to healthy eating, RoI, August 2016
                                                          • Figure 10: Eating time on an average day in minutes, OECD countries, 2006
                                                        • Despite recent fall, children still drinking too much sugary soft drinks
                                                          • Figure 11: Average daily intake of sugar-sweetened drinks among consumers aged 4-10, UK (including NI), 2008/10 and 2012/14
                                                        • Sugar taxes to be introduced for soft drinks
                                                          • UK introduces new restrictions on junk food ads
                                                          • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                            • Children’s snacks see largest NPD levels in 2016
                                                              • Fruit snacks for children see strong growth
                                                                • Producers reducing additives in children’s food and drink
                                                                • Who’s Innovating?

                                                                  • Snacks leading children’s food NPD
                                                                    • Figure 12: New food and drink product launches targeting children*, by top 10 categories, UK and Ireland, 2012-16
                                                                  • Fruit snacks dominate NPD in 2016
                                                                    • Figure 13: New food and drink product launches targeting children*, by top 10 sub-categories, UK and Ireland, 2012-16
                                                                  • Brands taking out additives and preservatives from children’s food
                                                                    • Figure 14: Food and drink targeting children, by top 10 product claims, UK and Ireland, 2012-16
                                                                  • Manufacturers continue to focus on sugar reduction
                                                                    • Figure 15: Food and drink targeting children, by health claims, UK and Ireland, 2012 and 2016
                                                                • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                  • Parents encourage healthy snacking but have no problem with occasional sweet treats
                                                                    • Parents looking for more variety on children’s menus
                                                                      • Regular exercise a key aspect to improving children’s health and diet
                                                                        • Irish parents prefer sweet-free checkouts
                                                                        • The Consumer – Children’s Eating Habits at Home

                                                                            • Children encouraged to snack on fruit and vegetables
                                                                              • Figure 16: Agreement with statements relating to children’s eating habits while at home, NI and RoI, November 2016
                                                                            • RoI parents cooking meals from scratch
                                                                              • Figure 17: Agreement with statements relating to children’s eating habits while at home, NI and RoI, November 2016
                                                                            • Women most likely to scratch cook children’s meals
                                                                              • Figure 18: Agreement with the statement ‘I prefer to prepare my children's meals from scratch in order to control ingredients’, by gender and social class, NI and RoI, November 2016
                                                                            • Women giving children occasional sweet treats
                                                                              • Figure 19: Agreement with the statement ‘I have no problem giving my children sweet treats every now and again’ by gender, NI and RoI, November 2016
                                                                            • Children encouraged to snack on fruit
                                                                              • Figure 20: Agreement with the statement ‘I encourage my child(ren) to snack on fresh fruit and/or vegetables’, by presence of children in the household, NI and RoI, November 2016
                                                                              • Figure 21: Agreement with the statement ‘I encourage my child(ren) to snack on fresh fruit and/or vegetables’, by presence of children in the household, by social class, NI and RoI, November 2016
                                                                          • The Consumer – Children’s Eating Habits Out of the Home

                                                                              • Parents looking for variety on kid’s menus
                                                                                • Figure 22: Agreement with statements relating to children’s eating habits outside of the home, NI and RoI, November 2016
                                                                              • Parents with older children looking for greater variety on kid’s menus
                                                                                • Figure 23: Agreement with the statement ‘I think children's menus need more variety’, by presence of children in the household, NI and RoI, NI and RoI, November 2016
                                                                              • ABC1s looking for a greater variety of healthier options on kid’s menus
                                                                                • Figure 24: Agreement with the statements ‘I think children's menus need more healthy options’, by social class, NI and RoI, November 2016
                                                                              • Family-oriented restaurants appeal to married consumers
                                                                                • Figure 25: Agreement with the statement ‘I pick restaurants suited for families/children’, by marital status, NI and RoI, November 2016
                                                                              • Women want kids portion sizes at restaurants
                                                                                • Figure 26: Agreement with the statements ‘I think restaurants should offer a range of portion sizes for children of different sizes/ages’, by gender, NI and RoI, November 2016
                                                                            • The Consumer – Steps Considered Important to Improving Children’s Health

                                                                                • Exercise important for improving children’s health and diet
                                                                                  • Figure 27: Steps that consumers feel that are important to improve their children’s health and diet, NI and RoI, November 2016
                                                                                • Regular exercise an important part for teenage children’s diets
                                                                                  • Figure 28: Consumers who feel regular exercise is important to improving children’s health and diet, by presence of children in the household, NI and RoI, November 2016
                                                                                • Appropriate portions for kids seen as beneficial
                                                                                  • Figure 29: Consumers who feel giving kids appropriate portion sizes is important to improving children’s health and diet, by gender, NI and RoI, November 2016
                                                                                • Avoiding sugar important for less affluent parents
                                                                                  • Figure 30: Consumers feel that avoiding foods that are high in sugar is important to improving children’s health and diet, by social class, NI and RoI, November 2016
                                                                                  • Figure 31: Food and drink targeting children claiming to be low, no, reduced sugar, sodium and fat, UK and Ireland, 2012-16
                                                                              • The Consumer – Attitudes towards Children and Grocery Shopping

                                                                                  • Irish parents prefer checkouts with no sweets
                                                                                    • Figure 32: Agreement with statements relating to children and grocery shopping, NI and RoI, November 2016
                                                                                  • Sweet-free checkouts appeal most to Irish men
                                                                                    • Figure 33: Agreement with the statement ‘I would prefer that sweets were not on sale at the checkout/tills’, by gender and age, NI and RoI, November 2016
                                                                                  • Colourful packaging and cartoon characters’ appeal to young children
                                                                                    • Figure 34: Agreement with the statement ‘My children are attracted to products with colourful packaging/feature a cartoon character’, by presence of children in the household, NI and RoI, November 2016
                                                                                  • NI parents least likely to enjoy shopping with their children
                                                                                    • Figure 35: Agreement with the statement ‘I enjoy going shopping with my child(ren)’, by social class, NI, November 2016
                                                                                    • Figure 36: Agreement with the statement ‘I avoid going shopping with my child(ren)’, by social class, RoI, November 2016
                                                                                  • Free healthy snack schemes appeal to one-parent households
                                                                                    • Figure 37: Agreement with the statement ‘Schemes such as free healthy snacks (eg fruit) in-store for children would influence which grocery store I use’, by marital status, NI and RoI, November 2016
                                                                                • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                  • Data sources
                                                                                    • Generational cohort definitions
                                                                                      • Abbreviations
                                                                                      • Appendix – The Consumer

                                                                                        • NI Toluna data
                                                                                          • Figure 38: Agreement with statements relating to children’s eating habits while at home, by demographics, NI, November 2016
                                                                                          • Figure 39: Agreement with statements relating to children’s eating habits while at home, by demographics, NI, November 2016 (continued)
                                                                                          • Figure 40: Agreement with statements relating to children’s eating habits while at home, by demographics, NI, November 2016 (continued)
                                                                                          • Figure 41: Agreement with statements relating to children’s eating habits outside of the home, by demographics, NI, November 2016
                                                                                          • Figure 42: Agreement with statements relating to children’s eating habits outside of the home, by demographics, NI, November 2016 (continued)
                                                                                          • Figure 43: Agreement with statements relating to children’s eating habits outside of the home, by demographics, NI, November 2016 (continued)
                                                                                          • Figure 44: Steps that consumers feel are important to improve their children’s health and diet, by demographics, NI, November 2016
                                                                                          • Figure 45: Steps that consumers feel are important to improve their children’s health and diet, by demographics, NI, November 2016 (continued)
                                                                                          • Figure 46: Steps that consumers feel are important to improve their children’s health and diet, by demographics, NI, November 2016 (continued)
                                                                                          • Figure 47: Agreement with statements relating to children and grocery shopping, by demographics, NI, November 2016
                                                                                          • Figure 48: Agreement with statements relating to children and grocery shopping, by demographics, NI, November 2016 (continued)
                                                                                          • Figure 49: Agreement with statements relating to children and grocery shopping, by demographics, NI, November 2016 (continued)
                                                                                        • RoI Toluna data
                                                                                          • Figure 50: Agreement with statements relating to children’s eating habits while at home, by demographics, RoI, November 2016
                                                                                          • Figure 51: Agreement with statements relating to children’s eating habits while at home, by demographics, RoI, November 2016 (continued)
                                                                                          • Figure 52: Agreement with statements relating to children’s eating habits while at home, by demographics, RoI, November 2016 (continued)
                                                                                          • Figure 53: Agreement with statements relating to children’s eating habits outside of the home, by demographics, RoI, November 2016
                                                                                          • Figure 54: Agreement with statements relating to children’s eating habits outside of the home, by demographics, RoI, November 2016 (continued)
                                                                                          • Figure 55: Agreement with statements relating to children’s eating habits outside of the home, by demographics, RoI, November 2016 (continued)
                                                                                          • Figure 56: Steps that consumers feel are important to improve their children’s health and diet, by demographics, RoI, November 2016
                                                                                          • Figure 57: Steps that consumers feel are important to improve their children’s health and diet, by demographics, RoI, November 2016 (continued)
                                                                                          • Figure 58: Steps that consumers feel are important to improve their children’s health and diet, by demographics, RoI, November 2016 (continued)
                                                                                          • Figure 59: Agreement with statements relating to children and grocery shopping, by demographics, RoI, November 2016
                                                                                          • Figure 60: Agreement with statements relating to children and grocery shopping, by demographics, RoI, November 2016 (continued)
                                                                                          • Figure 61: Agreement with statements relating to children and grocery shopping, by demographics, RoI, November 2016 (continued)

                                                                                      Companies Covered

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                                                                                      Children’s Eating Habits - Ireland - February 2017

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