Healthy Foods for Kids—What Do Parents Want?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

New York, NY – The top benefits parents want their children to receive from eating healthy foods relate to heart health, reduced risk of disease, brain development and immunity. This is the latest finding from a global study conducted by Ipsos Marketing, Consumer Goods.

Parents from around the world were given a list of benefits their children may receive from eating healthy foods and asked to rank which benefits were most important. On a global basis, healthy heart was ranked highest in importance, followed closely by reduced risk of disease later in life, better brain development and better immunity.

Differences in priorities were found to exist across countries. For example, heart health was most important to parents in Spain, Turkey, Belgium, Russia, and Great Britain. Reduced risk of disease was most important to parents in France, Italy, Sweden and Germany.

According to Lauren Demar, Global CEO, Ipsos Marketing, Consumer Goods & Shopper, “It is not surprising that parents in different countries have different motivations for feeding their children healthy foods. They are influenced by their unique value systems, the availability of different foods and medicines in their countries, and the messages they receive from their local media and governments. Interestingly, governments not only influence consumers, but also exert an increasing influence on food manufacturers.”

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Parents See More Support from Government

Clearly, parents want their children to eat healthy foods and have specific expectations about the benefits their children will receive – from heart and brain health to disease prevention and immunity. Increasingly, parents are finding more support from their local governments as new regulations may force sweeping changes about how packaged foods are marketed to children. Legislation already exists in several countries that restrict food advertising to children, including Sweden, Norway, Canada, the United Kingdom, South Korea and France. Most recently, the U.S. is proposing that foods advertised to children must meet certain criteria in terms of the healthy ingredients they contain. The World Health Organization is getting involved as well – by making recommendations to its Member States to limit children’s exposure to the marketing of less healthy food options.

“Manufacturers are feeling the pressure from all angles to market healthier food to children,” continues Demar. “Parents are demanding nutritious and functional foods to serve their children while new regulations are restricting marketing efforts for less healthy food options. At the same time, manufacturers need to appeal to children by offering great-tasting food with ‘kid appeal’, as children still influence food purchases in many countries.”

Demar concludes, “It is a whole new world for marketers – but we are already seeing them step up to the challenge. Today we see healthy options for kids in a wide range of categories, including beverages (juice boxes fortified with calcium), dairy (milk with DHA Omega-3), cereal (gluten-free options), and snacks (fruit chews containing Vitamin C). As for tomorrow, we can expect innovations in kids’ foods that go beyond health basics, such as vitality boosting snacks, beverages to replace snack occasions, and hunger-suppression products – and we can expect new marketing strategies that will be just as exciting.”

These are the findings from a study conducted by Ipsos Marketing, Consumer Goods via the Ipsos Global @dvisor Monthly Syndicate, an online survey of citizens around the world. Interviews were carried out between February 2nd and June 13th 2011. For this survey an international sample of 18,680 adults aged 16-64 were interviewed in a total of 24 countries. Among the total sample, we identified 6,654 parents with children under the age of 18. The countries included Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Great Britain, Germany, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the United States of America.

Complimentary access to the data in this report for each of the 24 countries is available upon request from Ipsos Marketing, Consumer Goods.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Allyson Leavy
Vice President
Ipsos Marketing, Global Consumer Goods
(516) 507-3515

About Ipsos Marketing

Ipsos Marketing – The Innovation and Brand Research Specialists – is the Ipsos brand for Marketing Research.

Ipsos Marketing helps clients to develop and launch new products and services and reposition existing brands, understand the success factors behind their brands and maximize the impact of their marketing decisions. Supported by specialized teams, Ipsos Marketing offers an in-depth understanding of the drivers of consumer choice and of the challenges faced by marketers. Our leading-edge solutions integrate qualitative and quantitative research, using engaging digital tools as well as advanced modelling and forecasting techniques.

Ipsos Marketing is a specialization of Ipsos, a global survey-based market research company that offers expertise in Advertising and Marketing research, Customer and Employee Relationship research, Media, Content and Technology research, and Social and Corporate Reputation research. Ipsos is present in 67 countries, with a leading position in both mature and emerging markets. In 2010, it achieved global revenues of 1,140.8 million Euros, Marketing research contributing to 47% of Ipsos’ total global revenues.

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About Ipsos

Ipsos is the second largest survey based research company in the world. Headquartered in Paris, it has offices in 67 countries and conducts research in more than 100 countries. Founded in 1975, it is still managed and controlled by research professionals. Thanks to a sound acquisition strategy, they have built a solid group around a unique multi-specialist positioning – Advertising and Marketing Research; Customer and Employee Relationship Management; Media Measurement, Content and Technology Research; and Polling, Social Research and Corporate Reputation Research. The company has been publicly traded since 1999.

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Healthy Foods for Kids—What Do Parents Want?

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Allyson Leavy
Vice President
Ipsos InnoQuest