Children’s Food and Beverage Trends During the Pandemic

Children’s Food and Beverage Trends During the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed many aspects of consumer behavior and daily life. The grocery market experienced much faster than average growth in 2020 and 2021 since people were staying at home more than usual due to remote work and schooling.

Because of being home more during the pandemic, consumers and their children are snacking more. Additionally, many parents trying to juggle childcare, work, and other responsibilities during the pandemic have been turning to online grocery shopping for convenience.

Who Buys Children’s Food and Beverage Products?

Although children’s food and beverage products are marketed for kids, most of these products are purchased by their adult parents/guardians. Thus, the food preferences of parents are very important to examine. Parents also report on habits and preferences of their children, which can be used to gauge children’s perspectives.

Influence of Millennials and Women

Millennials are a key demographic in the children’s food and beverage market since they currently parent the largest share of children under the age 18. Younger members of Generation X also have significant influence in this realm.

These two demographic groups tend to have preferences for more premium foods – such as organic and clean label products – so appropriate labeling is often valuable in the children’s food market.

Most food makers target these younger groups aggressively, paying special attention to special diet trends that are more prevalent in younger generations (such as plant-based/vegan, gluten-free, and clean label).

Better-for-you products in many diet areas are targeted at younger consumers and their children because there is more interest in special diets among these age groups.

Women are another key demographic in the market for children’s food and beverage products. In households with children, women are more likely to be the primary shoppers.

Additionally, most single-parent households are also headed by women. Thus, women’s preferences are very important to the children’s food market, since women are more likely than men to be making decisions about what products to buy for their kids.

Parents Turning to Online Grocery Shopping for Convenience

Before the pandemic, retailers of all types were attempting to expand online shopping options by making more items available for pickup and delivery. Now that COVID-19 has changed consumer behavior and preferences, more are shopping for groceries online to avoid leaving home (or at least to avoid shopping in a crowded store).

Online grocery shopping is generally driven by convenience, especially for parents. They are more likely than general consumers to shop for groceries online, chiefly because online grocery shopping is easier for busy parents trying to juggle many family responsibilities.

Many grocery delivery services use busy family scenes in their advertisements to reflect that fact. For instance, Instacart’s TV spot called “Busy” features parents buying groceries and other products online when their schedule with work, cooking, and taking care of their children is too hectic. Instacart is marketed with language such as, “It’s like having another ‘you’ for those days when just one of you isn’t enough.”

Where to Learn More

Additional market analysis can be found in the January 2022 Packaged Facts report Children’s Food and Beverage Market: Trends and Opportunities.

About the blogger:

Cara Rasch is a food and beverage analyst for Packaged Facts. She studies consumer and industry trends in this space and has a B.A. in economics from Allegheny College.