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Children’s Snacking

06/20/2013
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SOURCE: Prepared Foods

With rising childhood and teen obesity rates, instilling healthy snacking habits at a young age is more important now than ever.
 
Research suggests children primarily choose what to eat for breakfast, while lunch and dinner meals are controlled by moms. During the summer months, this dynamic shifts considerably once school hours are substituted with a chaotic assortment of activities and an abundance of idle time.  For parents, it is vital to find ways to incorporate healthy snacking habits that kids will learn to perpetuate on their own accord. Unfortunately, fruits and veggies are not the first things that come to mind for most kids with cravings, so parents and marketers must be tactical when positioning healthy snacking products.
 
A recent study conducted by the Center for Childhood Obesity Research at Pennsylvania State University found that offering a dip alongside fruits and vegetables can encourage kids to eat foods they would normally push aside. During the study, only 31% of kids would eat the vegetable by itself, while 64% willingly consumed the vegetable when it was paired with a flavored dip.  

Kids’ snacking has increased drastically the past 30 years -- at least 75% of children and teens snack in between meals, according to Mintel. Although nutritional snacks are consumed by most children, it is at a significantly lower frequency than sweet, salty or savory snacks. Innovation in kid-friendly snack foods has declined 16% from 2008-12, wherein dairy, fruits and vegetable product launches were the only segments to experience growth. 

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