Personalised nutrition for kids gathering pace31 Aug 2023
Cold cereals and supplements are the top two categories for brands to personalise products for children as food makers continue to experiment with nutrient fortification to aid in eye, immune, and gut health at an earlier age.
Findings from a new Mintel Insights report reveals that the past three years of children's food, drink, and supplements launches are dominated by cold cereals, vitamins and minerals, and biscuits/cookies.
According to Rick Miller, food and drink associate director for specialised nutrition at Mintel, brands should “seek to add a layer of personalisation within areas such as energy, brain and nervous system health, and bone health. For kids' supplements, immunity is the lead functional claim”.
“Brands must think 'fortification with an edge’,” he added, pointing out that brands in cold cereal and supplements currently stick to “safe” fortification, leaning on herbal ingredients to create functionality.
Sweet biscuits and cookie launches down on previous years
Figures from Mintel’s own Global New Products Database (GNPD) reveals that cold cereals represented an 12% global share of food, drink and supplement launches aimed at kids aged 5 to 12 in 2020, increasing to 13% in 2021.
Likewise, vitamins and dietary supplements grabbed an 8% share of the same market, increasing to 10% in 2021 and 11% in 2022.
Other categories include pastilles, gums, jellies, and chews, which represented a 3% global share, rising to 4% in 2022.
In contrast, sweet biscuits/cookies posted slight declines in global market share throughout the past three years: -8% in 2020; -7% in 2021; and -6% in 2022.
“The cost-of-living crisis is already leading people to cut back on sweet biscuits,” said Richard Caines, senior food and drink analyst at Mintel.
“But, given that 75% of people think that sweet biscuits are an affordable treat, they are in a better position than many other discretionary items.
“In-store visibility for sweet biscuits is being hampered by [high fat, salt, and sugar] HFSS product location restrictions, making it even more important for products to stand out in the biscuits aisle.”
Brands already bringing new approaches to product fortification include MyMuesli Disney Küche Morning Princess Muesli with Pink Hearts, a lower-sugar (3.8g per 60g serving) option launched in Germany that allows for personal customisation to ensure consumers get the perfect blend.
Other products ripe for personalisation include Shaklee’s Meology supplements that provide personalised packs for kids based on an online quiz. Each pack covers unique health or performance needs, such as immunity.
In a similar vein, US-based Persona Focus Daily Gummy Vitamin Packs for Teens uses a blend of herbal ingredients, such as saffron, daily micronutrients, and phosphatidylserine for cognitive support in a convenient gummy format.
“This desire for better nutrition is rooted in the concept of dietary quality,” added Miller. “Brands can tap into this consumer need by emphasising how personalisation upgrades their kids' nutrition rather than simply 'kidifying' it.”
Wearable technology crucial in tracking kids’ physical activity
The insight report, entitled ‘Nutrition Watch: Personalised Nutrition for Kids,’ also discusses the emergence of wearable technology as a means to track children’s fitness levels and address childhood obesity.
The trend comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the US highlighted that childhood obesity was worsening and that increasing childhood activity was key to managing obesity rates.
“Given the evolution of kids' fitness trackers into smart watches – and their market growth – brands should seek to align themselves with this trend and support uptake,” said Miller.
“In 2019, we highlighted the importance of 'digi-leisure' and fitness trackers alongside kids' specialised nutrition. The kids' smart wearables market is projected to grow, and brands aiming for greater personalisation within kids' nutrition should seek to align.”
Examples of the kinds of development in this field include Angel Watch, which provides all the health metrics of an adult smart watch such as heart rate monitoring but in a child- and parent-friendly format.
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