Will Retailers Benefit By Knowing Who’s the Boss?

Discussion
Apr 19, 2013

The NPD Group’s report, Generation Mom: How Moms Provide and Kids Influence Consumption Patterns in the Home, found "kids eat 43 more meals per year at home than they did a decade ago." Kids influence some, but not all, of those meals, with snack decisions being the strongest at 46 percent, followed by breakfast (31 percent) and lunch (24 percent). Kids’ influence on dinner was weakest (three percent).

Based on feedback from mothers aged 22 to 56 with kids aged two to 17, NPD aimed to explore the factors influencing grocery shopping and menu decisions, also including the influence of social media, spouses, friends and relatives.

By examining "consumption behavior and demographics," the report illustrates family dynamics with an eye on the development of both product development and marketing strategies. Features highlighted include "the challenges and priorities mothers face in raising their children and feeding their families, their views on the male head of household and their perception of fairness in food-related and parental chores."

The report forecasts opportunities based on children’s consumption patterns as well as products catering to mothers’ needs for convenience and value.

Kim McLynn, director of public relations of NPD, told RetailWire, "The broader scope of Generation Mom is to determine who influences which meals and snacks in-home … identifying today’s mothers and what’s on their plates, literally and figuratively, before asking how marketing strategies can be aligned to connect with kids in different ways as they age."

NPD’s food and beverage industry analyst, Darren Seifer, said in a statement, "Stay at home dinners are quickly growing across all kids’ age groups. … More kids plus more meals eaten at home represents a growing opportunity … understanding who controls the meal and what is commonly consumed means audiences can be more effectively targeted."

Before retailers attempt to disrupt current purchasing patterns, they need to understand who the boss is when it comes to structuring those patterns. Once they know, there may well be value in attempting to influence who influences purchases in America’s homes.

Are kids today influencing more menu-planning and grocery-buying decisions than previous generations? Is there value in retailers trying to disrupt current patterns to change who influences purchases?

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8 Comments on "Will Retailers Benefit By Knowing Who’s the Boss?"


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Debbie Hauss
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

Retailers need to ask a lot more questions about this before they decide to change current strategies. It’s possible that kids are influencing more shopping choices, but where are they getting their information? And are their parameters presented by the parents around those choices? Which age groups of kids are we talking about? What household income are we talking about?

A few facts can be confirmed: 1) Families are more frugal with their spending today, following the recession—which could mean they are cooking more healthy meals at home or it could mean they are buying the cheapest items they can find (maybe not so healthy); 2) Families are better educated about healthy and organic choices today; 3) Depending on demographics, including family income, families have more choices of different types of stores where they can purchase different types of items.

So while kids may be allowed to make more choices regarding food, I would like to believe that they are functioning under guidelines set forth by the parents.

Ryan Mathews
Guest
9 years 1 month ago
First of all I’d need to see this research before I felt comfortable commenting on it. That said, based on what’s here, let’s see what the numbers are telling us. Kids eat what is chosen for them—as opposed to what they choose—69% of the time for breakfast; 76% of the rime for lunch; and a staggering 97% of the time at dinner. So … about that whole kid influence thing …. The study results (as presented) also beg the question, “Why the increase in eating at home?” My guess—economics is driving the change, i.e., people are eating at home because they can’t afford to eat out and are reducing the percentage of disposable income spent on food. Somebody is cooking more, likely because one or more parents have lost their jobs. Two points if this is right. First, when the economy recovers the findings of this study will be obsolete. And, second, kids have reduced “share of voice” when the primary driver of choice is a lack of cash. So, if that’s right the answer… Read more »
Camille P. Schuster, Ph.D.
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

Kids have different levels of influence over items purchased in different households. Kids actually do some of the shopping for some households. Before retailers begin planning to disrupt their relationships with customers, they need to understand what level of influence kids have on the buying process in their customers’ families and which kids are doing what shopping in their stores.

In terms of disrupting the influence kids have within their families, do retailers really think they are going to change family dynamics?

Zel Bianco
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

If “kids eat 43 more meals per year at home than they did a decade ago,” I would be remiss to hang my entire marketing strategy on that fact. I would definitely consider the snack division and further develop responding to that growth, but I would not want to forgo standard trends trying accommodate all the newer trends.

Cathy Hotka
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

Credit the Food Network and an abundance of cooking videos on the Internet. Consumers are more adventurous than ever when it comes to eating, and they’re challenging themselves with new cuisine. When your choice is yet another fast food burger or some speedy ethnic delight at home, home may well win.

Ralph Jacobson
Guest
9 years 1 month ago

This is nothing new, actually. Ever since grocers have been placing kid’s breakfast cereals on the lower shelves, the kids have been in charge! Of course there is value for retailers to merchandise in this manner.

Sid Raisch
Guest
Sid Raisch
9 years 1 month ago

Curious results. Beyond the data might be the actual truth. At breakfast and lunch, parents are often not present when the kids choose what they’ll eat. No parent watching; I’ll have scrambled eggs and fruit…right. Eat the lunch mom sent to school, or the school lunch, or trade with friends?

What parent doesn’t have the kids in mind when they are making the decision? Battle over broccoli, or offer up something you know won’t result in a fight or wasted food? Choice made.

It really has more to do with how the influence occurs. My kids routinely choose salad or a veggie over fries. I know they’re weird, and a reflection of weird parenting.

AmolRatna Srivastav
Guest
AmolRatna Srivastav
9 years 29 days ago

While kids are smart, I guess parents are smarter. There is flexibility, but it’s guided. So while clever marketing aimed at kids may help a particular brand sell more; the point is that the brand would still conform to what parents want their kids to have.

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