Chartbuster: What's for Dinner, Mom?

One third of children decide what to eat for breakfast, but few kids control household dinner decisions, presenting an opportunity for licensors to market to the whole family for meals.

Kids are eating more meals at home today than they have in the past decade, while cutting back on meals purchased and consumed away from home. Source: The NPD Group/National Eating Trends; years end in May.

Kids are eating 43 more meals at home each year than they did a decade ago and have influence over some but not all in-home eating occasions, finds new food market research by global information company The NPD Group. A recently released report by NPD finds that 31 percent of kids influence what they eat for breakfast, but few control what they eat for dinner.

The food and beverage choices at breakfast and the morning snack are most heavily influenced by kids of every age, according to NPD's "Generation Mom: How Moms Provide and Kids Influence Consumption Patterns in the Home" report. Twenty-four percent of kids ages 2 to 17 choose what to eat at lunch, and only 3 percent decide what to eat at dinner. The dinner meal remains the family meal in which moms try to get everybody together at the same time. Between-meal snacks are chosen by 46 percent of kids. Teens are more than twice as likely to influence what will be eaten for any in-home meal occasion.
 

One in three kids decide what they will eat for breakfast, but few kids control dinner decisions. Source: The NPD Group/Moms Custom Survey, October 2012.

More in-home meals and snacks means more food shopping, and households with children more than 6-years-old are making more shopping trips throughout the year, finds NPD. Additionally, with kids influencing some of the meals and snacks, feeding the entire family together usually means that mom needs to stick to one primary menu. Since moms are struggling to find new meal ideas, NPD's report suggests that manufacturers and retailers promote meal planning strategies that provide simple ideas the entire family will like.

"Stay-at-home dinners are quickly growing across all kids age groups, especially as tight budgets continue to restrict the amount of restaurant meals families can afford," says Darren Seifer, food and beverage industry analyst, NPD. "More kids plus more meals being eaten at home represents a growing opportunity for food and beverage manufacturers. By understanding who controls the meal and what is commonly consumed at each meal, you can more effectively target your audience."

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