Ingredients or products typically associated with grown-ups are becoming more popular with children, which is a trend described as the “kid-adult fusion” in The Culinary Trend Mapping Report: Kids’ Food, from the Center for Culinary Development and Packaged Facts.
An example of this is Asian foods, which the report said benefit from a “health halo” as certain Asian cuisines are perceived as pure and nutritious.
The number of multicultural kids is growing in the US and younger parents of all cultural affiliations are regularly seeking out foreign and ethnic dishes.
The report added: “Exposing babies to ethnic tastes mirrors the overarching trend of kid-adult fusion, the intergenerational integration of foods and flavors.
“Asia is a growing source of inspiration. From Indian lentils to coconut, adzuki beans to cardamom, ingredients and seasonings heretofore unknown in mainstream baby foods are all features of the emerging trend.”
Parents are concerned about the purity of the food they are giving their children and are seeking out “real food” with no hidden ingredients or fillers.
And even children aged between three and nine are increasingly choosing natural flavors, driven by parents’ concerns about obesity, diabetes and behavioral disorders, and how they might be addressed by the school lunch.
The report said that some 80 percent of parents would like their kids to eat better, but even 40 percent of grown-ups think the taste of healthy food isn’t that appealing.
Concealing vegetable and/or fruit purées in kids’ favorite foods is one strategy said to be gaining ground. This has been a home-cooking technique but hidden nutrition is now appearing in frozen CPG kid snacks and meals with carrots, sweet potatoes and butternut squash are popular additions to things like pizza pocket filling.
An example of is ADM which said in June that is launching a new range of bean powders and ground cooked beans, which are intended to make it more convenient for consumers to include beans in their diets - and easier for manufacturers to use them in product formulations.
It said the ingredients can be disguised in foods such as pizza crusts and cookies that would not normally be carriers for beans.
Kimberly Egan, CEO/Principal at the Center for Culianary Development, said: “Shifting demographics and new drivers are rewarding innovation, especially when those new products speak to parents’ concerns about the health and well-being of their children
“Though concerns about obesity, diabetes and other diet-related ailments are nearly universal, the kids’ food and beverage market is far from monolithic, a fact that adds further luster to an already dynamic sector.”
The market for kids’ food and beverages was said to have exceeded $38 billion by the end of 2007, with beverages, savory snacks and desserts/sweet snacks posting the highest rates of growth.
The report said that kids’ and baby foods are expanding into novel forms and flavors, creating a “brave new world of innovative savories, creative wellness strategies and a healthy obsession with freshness, flavor and convenience”.