Marketing kids’ foods: threading the health needle

Marketing kids’ foods: threading the health needle

The kids’ food and beverage market is particularly challenging because industry players must market to children and parents at the same time. This means delivering on healthfulness: Nearly half (46%) of parents list nutritional value as most important when choosing foods at the supermarket for their children, the highest response rate among 16 choices. But to gain kids’ approval, marketers can leverage the “fun factor”: the secondary most prevalent factor driving parents’ food purchases for their children is the child’s enjoyment of the food (38%), followed by kid-friendly flavors (32%), according to Kids Food and Beverage Market in the U.S., 8th Edition, a report by Packaged Facts.

Kids’ food marketers are playing to health messaging across food segments. A case in point, sweet snack purveyors are seeking alignment as a BFY snack through whole grain and all-natural claims, as exemplified by General Mills Betty Crocker Oat Crisps, which are made with whole grain and are said to meet USDA smart snacks.

Taking it further, some products blend health and fun into one persuasive, dual-message bullseye. Playing up the fun side, Kraft Foods Lunchables expanded to breakfast with Cinnamon Roll Dippers, Pancake and Bacon Dippers, Waffle and Bacon Dippers—incorporating kid-friendly favorites in a fun format that encourages kids to play with their food. But in doing so, the packaging calls out a positive health attribute, such as being a good source of protein—just enough to catch watchful parents’ eyes. Threading the needle indeed!

-- by David Morris