Getting picky over baby and kids Child products stir up strong feelings

Today’s parents of babies and kids are a picky lot for marketers. They want to give their children homemade food rather than branded, prepared foods. These shoppers are happy to shop at discounters, like they do for other purchases. A growing number prefer to shop locally for non-food products like nappies. And they think cereals’ sugar levels are still high, even though they have been cut considerably.

Mintel research reveals sales of wet and dry baby food dropped 14% between 2012-2015, squeezing prepared products. In 2016 Mintel’s Amy Price said over four in five (83%) parents with children aged four and under say they feed their child homemade food (excluding snacks) such as purées made from scratch, with 12% doing so four times a day or more.

It’s hard work: less than two in five (35%) parents say homemade baby food is easy to prepare. But over half (56%) of parents with children aged 0-4 believe homemade food is trustworthy.

Emma Clifford, Senior Food and Drink Analyst at Mintel, talked in her report last April of the discounters planting seeds of change, which could revolutionise baby food and drink retail. 2016 saw Aldi extend its offering dramatically and Lidl make its first venture into this category. “If this evolving presence is well received by parents,” Emma continued, “this could curb price inflation and put brands under pressure.”

With more parents working, shoppers are turning to local stores for baby and kids products such as nappies, says Caroline Gorrie, Brand Manager for Pampers, making it a lucrative category for these retailers. This generation of babies has it soft, with the increasing popularity of Pampers Sensitive Wipes, as mild as cotton, wool and water and containing 0% of phenoxyethanol, paraben, perfume and alcohol.

In November Kelloggs announced cuts to the sugar in their children’s cereals. By the end of 2018 Coco Pops will come down from 30 grams per 100g to 17 grams. Sugar in Rice Krispies will be reduced by 20 per cent, making it one of the lowest sugar cereals in the UK, and Rice Krispies Multi-Grain Shapes cereal will see a 30 per cent reduction. Kellogg will stop making Ricicles cereal in January 2018, the end of an era. Baby and kids products stirs up strong feelings. In the words of one parent we spoke to, these sugar levels are still high. It remains to be seen how shoppers respond instore.