Marketing healthy food products to young consumers

Today, surging popularity of mobile devices among children has led to new marketing strategies that bring food product marketing right to their fingertips.

Food companies, just like clothing and toy companies, recognize youth as an important consumer group and have developed products and marketing strategies to capture their attention.

According to Mintel’s “Marketing to Kids,” by 2017, the United States will have nearly 26.5 million 6- to 11-year-olds. Mintel highlights the high growth rate of Hispanic and Asian youth on order to emphasize how imperative it will be for businesses to understand this multicultural group in their market strategies. The average weekly allowance of this age group, according to Mintel, is between $7.30 and $7.51. Food and beverages, along with entertainment and toys, were found to be the top three categories that this age group spent their money on.

As food companies strive to bring their products to the attention of young consumers, marketing techniques have included the use of spokes-characters, celebrities, cartoons, collectibles, games, contests and kids’ clubs. Now, with the surging popularity of mobile devices among children, some companies are bringing food marketing right to their fingertips. The Wall Street Journal reported that children’s drinks and snacks companies are starting to build smartphone and tablet apps featuring their brands.

Public concerns about marketing unhealthy food to youth has led some companies to make their products more nutritious while others have chose to promote good nutrition, according to a report by ABC News. An example of such as company is Birds Eye, who will be spending at least $2 million as they team up with Nickelodeon’s “iCarly” series to promote children’s vegetable consumption, reported the Yale Rudd Center. Bird’s Eye will also use an online contest in which kids will be encouraged to develop unconventional new recipes for vegetables.

Through a partnership with Michigan State University Extension, the Michigan State University Product Center provides product and business marketing assistance for companies as they work to commercialize their food product. For more information, visit the MSU Product Center website or call 517-432-8750.

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