- Among parents, kids' taste preferences influenced 95% of food and beverage purchase decisions, according to the "Shopping for Health 2016" report from the Food Marketing Institute and Rodale. The second greatest influencer was whether items are healthy for children, which helped drive 91% of decisions.
- More than half of parents (57%) said they eat dinner with their kids every night (46% of dads versus 66% of moms), though three out of four parents would like to do that.
- Parents look to grocery stores and manufacturers to help them create family meals at home, with one in three wanting more kid-friendly recipes and foods displayed in combination for an easy meal. About 30% want more ready-to-eat foods kids like.
This survey demonstrates something manufacturers already know — that parents are highly influenced by their children when purchasing foods and beverages to consume at home. But it also reveals just how important family-friendly meals are, not just the snacks, cereals and beverages commonly marketed directly to kids.
As manufacturers make their products more nutritious, those targeting parents and families will also want to be sure the better-for-you ingredients and flavor combinations they use also appeal to children's palates. If parents can't encourage their children to eat a healthy RTE or ready-to-cook meal because kids don't like it, they may not buy the product again.
The fact that more parents would ideally eat dinner with their kids every night also demonstrates to manufacturers how critical it is that their products be convenient and easy to prepare. That includes everything from how the product's recipe lends itself to fast and easy cooking, to packaging that is easy to open.
But it's not just about the product. It's about the marketing. Manufacturers can entice parents through marketing that depicts how their products create at-home family meal experiences. Or they can use similar tactics that have worked to promote better-for-you and nutritious foods to children. These could include kid-friendly recipes and convenient cooking tips directly on packaging, which could also help parents choose the products they want to buy for meals at home.