ROCKVILLE, Md. – Children may not be the ones making the purchases, but they are definitely influencing purchasing decisions. Survey data in Packaged Facts’ “Kids Food and Beverage Market in the US, 8th Edition” report reveals that 26 percent of parents learn about new products after receiving requests from their kids. And according to the report, kids under the age of 6 are just as influential as older ones.
"Children under age six are just as important to marketers as older children are because life-long dietary habits are established during this time period and brand loyalty begins," said David Sprinkle, research director with Packaged Facts. "This suggests industry players should focus on product development designed to capture younger kids and gain allegiance from parents earlier to keep them involved with the brand throughout childhood."

According to Packaged Facts, the items that find their way into parents’ shopping carts are usually:

• brands or products that are recognizable to the children;
• foods kids themselves enjoy eating;
• items that are recommended by parents’ peers either directly or through social media and online reviews; and
• products that parents deem healthiest and most nutritious for their children.

Packaged Facts found that nearly half (46 percent) of parents consider a foods’ nutritional value to be one of the top influencing factors in their purchasing decision. According to Packaged Facts, healthfulness is an emerging trend in all areas of the kids’ food industry, even in categories such as sweet and salty snacks that aren’t typically associated with health.

"Companies or brands dedicated to eliminating or reducing unhealthful ingredients will find a strong following of parents, particularly parents of the Boomer generation or those with kids aged 6-11. Likewise, the hidden veggie trend is most important to millennial parents – reflecting this demographics' desire for functional foods," Sprinkle said.

In addition, the “Shopping for Health 2016” report from the Food Marketing Institute and Rodale reports that a product’s healthfulness for children influences 91 percent of parents’ food and beverage purchases.

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