chaz4In the Coalition Crunch we face over the next few years as the ‘Con-Dem’ government cuts take effect, consumers will have to make tough choices and economise wherever possible. But as anyone with a family at home will confirm, Baby and Kids remains one market sector where the spending goes on in thick and thin.

In the broadest marketing terms ‘Baby & Kids’ covers a host of products – food, drink, toiletries, medicines, clothes, toys, on and on. And as we’ve mentioned parents have little choice but to pay for them, which is great news for retailers.

There’s a strong argument to lump ‘Baby’ and ‘Kids’ together in marketing terms. There’s significant continuity in product usage from toddlers to early teenage, across many categories. The imagery on pack might be different but the psychology is much the same when it comes to getting teens to try things that are good for them as it is with tots: consumer motivation is crucial, as our front page lead story about NewLeaf Food Group’s hot new porridge for youngsters demonstrates.

As any mum or dad will confirm, anything that helps make pre-teens and teens interested in eating properly and importantly, healthily can only be a good thing.

We hear about the UK having an ageing population, but according to the Office for National Statistics the birth rate has been rising steadily over the past decade, which should help redress the balance.

If you follow social trends, alongside the rising birthrate in 2009 there were more babies being born to unmarried mothers, women over 40 and mothers born outside the UK than in 1999. Let the social commentators read omens into all this: how any social shifts will affect purchasing and usage and attitudes, remains to be seen. Meanwhile for marketing purposes we should find it reassuring that the Baby & Kids market is set to remain sizeable for the next few years.

Finally, the Baby & Kids market is conventionally supposed to end at teenage. The concept of the teenager as a self-sufficient economic entity came into being in the postwar years, when people left school at 15 and there was plenty of work and money around. Many of today’s generation of teens to 20 somethings are likely to stay at home a lot longer than their parents did because of the lack of jobs, high property prices, student loan repayments, and the other facts of economic life these days. So who knows, in years to come we might well find our notion of ‘Baby & Kids’ changing to embrace all these youngsters still dependent on their parents for food, lodging and the rest.

The Grocery Trader

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