U.S. Kids' Menu Trends: Understanding what parents want for their kids' foods and what foodservice operators currently do to win over young eaters

May 2016| MDK008A| Datassential

Report Highlights

The great majority of consumers have at least some level of consciousness regarding healthy food choices. However, very few follow strict diets which may suggest overall health and wellness as a greater focus rather than diet-specific messaging.

Most parents supervise their children’s eating habits to some degree. Not surprisingly, parents are more involved when kids are younger and allow older kids to make food choices independently.

Most consumers rely on scratch and speed scratch cooking to some degree. Prepared and packaged foods are pillars for meals prepared at home. The labor and time-saving aid of prepared products likely encourages more homemade meals versus families choosing away-from-home dining options.

Home is where parents have the most control over serving kids healthy foods.

While most parents expose kids to new foods, flavors, and ethnic cuisines, half struggle with picky eaters. As such, parents may be discouraged from choosing healthy or unfamiliar options at home. Kid-friendly as a platform should focus not only on taste, but on versatility across multiple culinary applications to ensure appeal across varying tastes within the home.On average, families take kids to eat at restaurants 1.5 times per week.

Only one-third of operators actively market to families with young children. Yet at least two out of three operators agree that families are important to driving most business metrics – as operators evaluate their revenue opportunities, kid appeal must figure into menu development and brand positioning.

Enter the world of American kids with Datassential’s Kids Keynote report. MenuTrends Keynotes combine the extensive detail of MenuTrends with the opinions and behaviors of over 800 parents nationwide and insight from hundreds of operators from Datassential’s OPERA™ panel, the industry’s largest with over 30,000 restaurant, retail, and on-site operators. Learn about kids’ preferences, parents’ goals, and operators’ perspectives on…

At Home/Retail Trends
Understand parents’ priorities when feeding their kids; find out what parents look for and what they ignore when buying retail foods for their family .

Kids’ Tastes
Gauge kids’ familiarity with and preferences regarding ancient grains, vegetables, fruits, non-meat proteins, and ethnic cuisines and how those foods are represented at restaurants and on cafeteria menus

Restaurant Kids’ Menus
Identify parents’ key drivers and barriers to eating out with their families; understand operators’ priorities and challenges regarding family dining; extensive detail on popular and trending kids’ menu items

K-12 Cafeterias
Uncover parent and operator perceptions of school meals; discover why kids eat cafeteria meals and what parents would like to see improve; learn about operator challenges

K-12 Guidelines
We’ve summarized K-12 meal requirements and upcoming changes, healthy food initiatives, and ideas and opportunities for K-12 operators

Datassential, a Chicago-based food industry research and consulting firm, brings clients real-world information on foodservice and consumer packaged goods in the U.S. and around the world. The company’s services, including its extensive MenuTrends database, provide in-depth reporting on trends in menu offerings, flavor profiles, ingredients and preparations. Datassential helps operators, retailers, and suppliers understand and capitalize on these important trends.

Datassential makes the food industry smarter. We provide trend software, predictive analytics, and consumer insights that help manufacturers, food retailers, and chain restaurants innovate and sell more intelligently.

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