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Children's Eating Habits - UK - December 2017

“Children’s likes and dislikes have the biggest influence on food bought for them by parents, which on the face of it poses a challenge for brands embracing a healthier proposition. However, parents and kids alike attach a very high importance to having a healthy diet. New or reformulated products, such as those containing less sugar or contributing to a child’s 5-a-day, therefore have much to gain from catering for this strong interest in eating healthily.”
– Richard Caines, Senior Food & Drink Analyst

This report looks at the following areas:

  • Interest in healthier foods for kids a key opportunity
  • Food brands and retailers can help encourage wider meal choice
  • Tapping into what children like is a priority for brands and retailers
  • Healthy lunch boxes and after-school snacks remain big markets to target

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Children and teens outpace total population growth
              • Sugar target set to tackle childhood obesity
                • Number of working women soars
                  • Lunchboxes hit by infant free schools meals
                    • Companies and brands
                      • Products for 5-12s a small share of launches
                        • Five categories dominate children’s food launches
                          • Kids snacks put emphasis on 5-a-day
                            • Catering for demand for natural products
                              • L/N/R claims a bigger focus in children’s foods
                                • Added nutrition and health benefit claims growing
                                  • The consumer
                                    • Breakfast cereals and crisps most bought for children
                                      • Catering for what children like is most important
                                        • Figure 1: Factors most important for parents when choosing food for children, September 2017
                                      • Pester power a major influence on spending
                                        • Figure 2: Parents’ behaviour relating to children’s eating habits, September 2017
                                      • High importance attached to trying wide range of foods and cooking
                                        • Figure 3: Parents’ attitudes towards children’s eating habits, September 2017
                                      • Snacks are most likely to be eaten after school
                                        • Figure 4: Time of day children eat snacks, September 2017
                                      • Big market for healthy school lunchbox items
                                        • Figure 5: Children’s behaviour and attitudes in relation to food, September 2017
                                      • What we think
                                      • Issues and Insights

                                        • Interest in healthier foods for kids a key opportunity
                                          • The facts
                                            • The implications
                                              • Food brands and retailers can help encourage wider meal choice
                                                • The facts
                                                  • The implications
                                                    • Tapping into what children like is a priority for brands and retailers
                                                      • The facts
                                                        • The implications
                                                          • Healthy lunch boxes and after-school snacks remain big markets to target
                                                            • The facts
                                                              • The implications
                                                              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                                                • Children and teens outpacing total population growth
                                                                  • Sugar target set to tackle childhood obesity
                                                                    • New restrictions on advertising targeted at children
                                                                      • Apps support Change4Life campaign
                                                                        • Number of working mothers soars
                                                                          • Lunchboxes hit by universal infant free school meals
                                                                            • Most children are missing 5-a-day target
                                                                              • Inflation putting a squeeze on family budgets
                                                                              • Market Drivers

                                                                                • Children and teens outpacing total population growth
                                                                                  • Figure 6: Trends in the age structure of the UK population (0-15 year olds), by age, 2012-22
                                                                                • Targets set to cut sugar and tackle childhood obesity
                                                                                  • New restrictions on advertising targeted at children
                                                                                    • Apps support Change4Life campaign
                                                                                      • Number of working mothers soars
                                                                                        • Universal Infant Free School Meals and healthy lunchbox policies
                                                                                          • Only a fifth of children reaching 5-a-day target
                                                                                            • Figure 7: Proportion of children aged 5-15 eating 5 portions or more of fruit and vegetables a day, 2015-15
                                                                                          • Inflation putting a squeeze on family budgets
                                                                                          • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                                                            • Products for 5-12s a small share of launches
                                                                                              • Five categories dominate children’s food launches
                                                                                                • Kids’ snacks put emphasis on 5-a-day
                                                                                                  • Natural or healthier claims a rarity in bakery
                                                                                                    • Kids’ yogurts and cereals take action on sugar
                                                                                                      • Children’s ready meals are an undeveloped area
                                                                                                        • Catering for demand for natural products
                                                                                                          • L/N/R sugar claims a bigger focus in children’s foods
                                                                                                            • Added nutrition and health benefit claims growing
                                                                                                            • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                              • Products for children aged 5-12 take a small share of food launches
                                                                                                                • Figure 8: Proportion of new launches in the UK food market making children (5-12) claims, 2012-17
                                                                                                              • Five categories dominate children’s food launches
                                                                                                                • Figure 9: Breakdown of new food launches making children (5-12) claims, by category, 2012-17
                                                                                                              • Snacks and treats a big element of new children’s launches
                                                                                                                • Figure 10: Breakdown of new food launches making children (5-12) claims, by top 10 sub-categories, 2012-17
                                                                                                              • Kids’ snacks put emphasis on 5-a-day
                                                                                                                • Natural or healthier claims a rarity in bakery
                                                                                                                  • Kids’ yogurts cutting added sugar
                                                                                                                    • Health and fun are key themes in children’s breakfast cereals NPD
                                                                                                                      • Children’s ready meals are an undeveloped area
                                                                                                                        • Catering for demand for natural products for kids
                                                                                                                          • More children’s foods making free-from claims
                                                                                                                            • L/N/R sugar claims a bigger focus in children’s foods
                                                                                                                              • Added nutrition and health benefit claims growing
                                                                                                                                • Figure 11: new food launches making children (5-12) claims, by claims, 2012-17
                                                                                                                            • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                                                              • Breakfast cereals and crisps most bought for children
                                                                                                                                • Catering for what child likes most important
                                                                                                                                  • Contributing to 5-a-day most important health-related factor
                                                                                                                                    • Sugar also a major concern among parents
                                                                                                                                      • Pester power a major influence on spending
                                                                                                                                        • Advertising influences what children want to eat
                                                                                                                                          • High importance attached to trying wide range of foods
                                                                                                                                            • Teaching children to cook from scratch a high priority
                                                                                                                                              • Snacks are most likely to be eaten after school
                                                                                                                                                • Big market for ‘healthy’ school packed lunches
                                                                                                                                                • Foods Bought in Household and Those Bought Specifically for Children

                                                                                                                                                  • Wide range of foods bought specifically for children
                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 12: Buying different foods and buying them specifically for children, September 2017
                                                                                                                                                  • Low availability of pasta sauces for kids limits uptake
                                                                                                                                                    • 7-9-year-olds most likely to eat different products to parents
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 13: Buying different foods specifically for children, by age of child, September 2017
                                                                                                                                                  • Factors Influencing Choice of Food for Children

                                                                                                                                                    • Finding something kids like is most important for parents
                                                                                                                                                      • Figure 14: Factors most important when choosing food for children, September 2017
                                                                                                                                                    • Contributing to 5-a-day most important health-related factor
                                                                                                                                                      • Sugar also a major concern among parents
                                                                                                                                                        • Being a source of vitamins/minerals also important
                                                                                                                                                          • Absence of artificial ingredients matters to a third of parents
                                                                                                                                                          • Behaviour Relating to Children’s Eating Habits

                                                                                                                                                            • Pester power a major influence on spending
                                                                                                                                                              • Figure 15: Parents’ behaviour relating to children’s eating habits, September 2017
                                                                                                                                                            • Advertising influences what children want to eat
                                                                                                                                                            • Attitudes towards Children’s Eating Habits

                                                                                                                                                              • High importance attached to children trying a wide range of foods
                                                                                                                                                                • Figure 16: Parents’ attitudes towards children’s eating habits, September 2017
                                                                                                                                                              • Teaching children how to cook from scratch a high priority
                                                                                                                                                                • ‘Hidden’ healthy ingredients offer NPD opportunities
                                                                                                                                                                  • Room for unhealthy treats in moderation
                                                                                                                                                                    • …but not at school
                                                                                                                                                                    • Meal and Snack Eating Habits of Children

                                                                                                                                                                      • Vast majority eat breakfast and dinner at home
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 17: Where children eat different meals and snacks, September 2017
                                                                                                                                                                      • Snacks are most likely to be eaten after school
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 18: Time of day children eat snacks, September 2017
                                                                                                                                                                      • More children have packed lunches than school meals
                                                                                                                                                                        • Figure 19: Type of lunch that children have at school most often, September 2017
                                                                                                                                                                    • Children’s Behaviour and Attitudes in Relation to Food

                                                                                                                                                                      • Children recognise the importance of healthy diets
                                                                                                                                                                        • Schools scrutinise lunchboxes
                                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 20: Children’s behaviour and attitudes in relation to food, September 2017
                                                                                                                                                                        • Children have a big interest in food and cooking
                                                                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                                                                                            • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                                                              • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 21: Total UK food launches, by claim, 2012-17
                                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 22: Incidence of children (5-12) claims in different food categories, % of launches in each category, 2012-17

                                                                                                                                                                              Children's Eating Habits - UK - December 2017

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