Minneapolis — Despite most parents’ attempts to feed their children healthier meals, 59 percent still allow occasional treats. Regarding bakery products, 90 percent seek healthier versions of traditional items, according to a Cargill, Inc. survey, but only 20 percent of respondents say they are satisfied with the current baked goods offerings, revealing a major opportunity gap in the segment.
“Encouraging for those in the bakery space, our research revealed that while parents are certainly concerned with the nutritional benefits of baked goods, they also recognize there is room in a healthful diet for traditional snacks and treats,” DeeAnn Roullier, marketing research manager says. “Our data points out opportunities to make healthier versions of popular bakery products.”
Cargill studied parents’ perceptions of nine segments heavily consumed by children, including cookies, crackers and snack bars. The survey found millennial parents are more likely than older generations to allow their children to have treats while taking a more balanced approach to family diets, and mothers strive for a balance between healthy and less healthy food more than fathers. What’s more, three factors drive parents’ decisions to purchase “healthier” bakery products: They seek positive nutrients, avoid certain attributes such as fat or sugar, and opt for products with “clean” labels that include recognizable ingredients.
In a contradicting report, Rabobank Group suggests the iconic, unchanged and indulgent nature of snack cakes adds to their appeal and points to the resurgence of Twinkies as an example.
The firm reports: “According to Information Resources, Inc., around 60 percent of the population view snacks as an opportunity to splurge, with most consumers preferring to eat what tastes good rather than what is healthy. Similarly, the Hartman Group found that although most consumers think it is important for snacks to be healthy, the desire for an indulgent treat tops all other snacking triggers.”
Instead of modifying existing products to be healthier, Rabobak says developing a separate better-for-you line is more effective.