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The Kids Food and Beverage Market in the U.S., 7th Edition


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The Kids Food and Beverage Market in the U.S., 7th Edition

To put the market for kids’ food and beverage in context, Packaged Facts estimates that retail sales of all food and beverages in the U.S. will reach $639 billion in 2013 with kids’ food and beverages accounting for roughly 3.5% of sales. In 2013, Packaged Facts estimates total value of kids’ food and beverage to be worth $23.2 billion.

While kids’ market can be quite complex, Packaged Facts has focused on seven core food and beverage categories in which marketers have a strong tendency to target kids: dairy products, snacks, frozen food, beverages, cereal, shelf-stable meals, and produce. Importantly, growth of kids’ food and beverage appears to be outpacing that of the total market, up 4.4% from 2012-2013 compared to 2.9% of traditional food and beverages in the same categories. This is why makers and marketers of packaged goods are turning to America’s youngest consumers to boost sales. Moreover, the kids’ food market is still in its infancy—providing additional incentive for players to innovate new product lines that can be adapted to kids’ needs and desires.

However, marketing kids’ food and beverages can be a tricky business. While kids’ food and beverages are targeting the child user, companies and brands must first gain acceptance by the purchaser—the parent. Obtaining parent approval is most often achieved through healthy brand positioning and socially responsible efforts. The Millennial parent—who likes to have products tailored specifically for them—emerges as a willing consumer when it comes to products that are made specifically for kids. Millennial moms are identified as an important target for industry players to consider when developing social media marketing strategies.

Innovation in kids’ food and beverage products is largely accomplished through formulation, packaging, and marketing. Formulation is a key component for innovation of any food or beverage designed for kids. Kid-friendly formulations leverage color, shape and size to appeal to kids’ senses without pushing the taste boundaries too far beyond the familiar. Additionally, new formulations of kids’ foods often strive to meet nutritional requirements to appease parents. Packaging trends tap into three key attributes—convenience; portion control; and playability.

Finally, industry players must tread carefully when targeting kids. Public health professionals concerned about the unhealthy diets and lifestyles that lead to childhood obesity have identified food marketing to children as playing a key role in this national crisis.

Packaged Facts projects sales of kids’ food and beverage will grow to a value of $29.8 billion by 2018, driven by continued economic recovery, strong new product development, and increased demand for health and wellness products suitable for growing kids.

Scope and Methodology

The kids food and beverage market is a broad and complex one, spanning numerous categories and product segments. Packaged Facts qualifies a food as being for kids when it has a taste kids love; nutrition kids need; or entertainment kids crave. Taste alone is not sufficient to quality a product as being for kids. The product must meet at least one other criterion—nutrition or entertainment. This is accomplished through product formulation, packaging, and marketing. Ideally the product possesses all three of these characteristics.

Kids’ foods are merchandised throughout the retail and foodservice landscapes. Retail venues include club stores, convenience stores, dollar stores, drug stores, health/natural foods stores, mass merchandisers, mainstream supermarkets, and specialty stores that carry a limited assortment of a unique mix of foods and beverages (i.e., Trader Joe’s, Fox & Obel, etc.), as well as the Internet. Though kids’ food and beverages are sold through nontraditional retail venues and foodservice channels, this report excludes these outlets when quantifying the market size.

Packaged Facts has based its market size on seven food and beverage categories in which marketers have a strong tendency to target kids. These categories include dairy products, snacks, frozen food, beverages, cereal, shelf-stable meals, and produce. Packaged Fact provides both quantitative and qualitative analysis of kids’ food and beverage based on both public and syndicated data sources.

Primary data sources include:
  • IRI sales tracking through U.S. supermarkets and grocery stores, drugstores, and mass merchandisers (including Target and Kmart, but excluding Walmart) with annual sales of $2 million or more.
  • U.S. Census Bureau retail food sales data from the Economic Census surveys, annual retail channel sales.
  • U.S. Bureau of Economic analysis annual estimates for consumer spending on food.
  • Major food and beverage company and retailer annual reports.
Information on new product introductions was derived from examination of the retail milieu and from relevant trade, business, and government sources, including company literature and annual reports. The consumer demographics analysis was developed using data from primary data are Simmons National Consumer Surveys Spring 2013 from Experian Marketing Services. The report also draws on a proprietary Packaged Facts national online consumer survey conducted in February/March of 2013.


  • Executive Summary
    • Market definition
    • Channels covered
    • Kid population factors
    • The parent demographic-25-44 year olds
    • The grandparent factor
    • The Millennial mom
    • Race and ethnic influence
      • Table U.S. Child Population by Age Group and Race/Ethnicity, 2012 (in thousands)
    • Hispanics: The power of family
    • The obesity epidemic has immediate and long-term impact on market
    • Industry labeling initiatives
    • Total retail kids food and beverage sales at $23 billion in 2013
      • Table U.S. Retail Sales of Kids Foods and Beverages, 2009-2013 (in billions of dollars and percent change)
    • Kids' food and beverage performs well in key categories
      • Table Overview of IRI FDMx-Tracked Kids Food and Beverage Sales in Selected Categories, 2013 (in billions of dollars and percent)
    • Room for growth
    • Sales of kids' food and beverage to approach $30 billion by 2018
      • Table Projected U.S. Retail Sales of Kids' Food and Beverages, 2013-2018 (in billions of dollars and percent)
    • Market opportunities
    • Marketers: Kids Dairy Products
    • Marketers: Kids Snacks
    • Marketers: Kids Frozen Foods
    • Marketers: Kids Beverages
    • Marketers: Kids Cereal
    • Marketers: Kids Shelf-Stable Meals
    • Marketers: Kids Produce
    • Marketers: Foodservice
    • Marketers must tread carefully when targeting kids
    • Marketing strategies
    • Innovative formulation creates kid appeal
    • Where consumers shop for food
      • Table Type of Store(s) Shopped on Most Recent Grocery Shopping Trip, 2013 (in percent of grocery shoppers)
    • Technology is changing how consumers shop for groceries
    • Kids influence parents' grocery choices
    • Moms are more likely to consult kids when making food purchases
    • Kids have more influence in Hispanic households
    • Older kids are more likely to help make purchase decisions
    • Move over breakfast, parents say lunch is the most important meal
      • Table Parents' Attitudes toward Meals, by Presence of Children in Household by Age, 2013 (index)
    • Parents with young kids are most influenced by coupons and nutrition
    • Parents find advertising helpful when choosing kids' products
    • Parents don't like kids' pestering, but find it hard to resist
  • Market Context
    • Highlights
    • Scope of Kids' Food and Beverage Market
      • Methodology: Making the cut
      • Channels covered
    • Factors to Market Growth
      • Shifts in the U.S. Population
        • Table U.S. Population by Age Group, 2010 and 2012 (in thousands)
      • Static child population limits market opportunity
      • The parent demographic-25-44 year olds
      • The grandparent factor
      • The Millennial mom
      • Race and ethnic influence
        • Table U.S. Child Population by Age Group and Race/Ethnicity, 2012 (in thousands)
      • Asians: The healthy consumer
      • Hispanics: The power of family
      • Macroeconomic Factors
      • Increasing rates of unemployment contributor to lower household income
      • Consumer confidence plays a role in purchase decisions
    • The Health Factor
      • The obesity epidemic has immediate and long-term impact on market
      • Short-term effects
      • Long-term threat: Continuing the cycle
      • Government intervention for prevention of obesity
      • Let's Move! campaign
      • Let's Move! makes an impact
      • but there's more to be done
      • The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act
      • Nutrition labeling and education to aide consumer decisions
      • Industry initiatives
      • Nutrition Keys
      • Clear on Calories
      • Nu-Val
      • Nestlé Nutritional Compass
      • Foodservice labeling requirements improve nutritional transparency
      • The kids' menu
  • Market Size and Growth
    • Highlights
    • Industry Context
      • Total retail kids food and beverage sales at $23 billion in 2013
        • Table U.S. Retail Sales of Kids Foods and Beverages, 2009-2013 (in billions of dollars and percent change)
      • Kids' food and beverage performs well in key categories
        • Table Overview of IRI FDMx-Tracked Kids Food and Beverage Sales in Selected Categories, 2013 (in billions of dollars and percent)
      • Room for growth
      • Sales of kids' food and beverage to approach $30 billion by 2018
        • Table Projected U.S. Retail Sales of Kids' Food and Beverages, 2013-2018 (in billions of dollars and percent)
    • Market Composition
      • Dairy products and snacks capture largest share of kids' food sales
        • Table IRI FDMx-Tracked Sales of Kids' Food and Beverages by Category, 2013 (in millions of dollars and percent)
      • Snacks and produce offer strongest growth in market
        • Table IRI FDMx-Tracked Sales of Kids' Food and Beverages by Category, 2009-2013 (in millions of dollars and percent)
      • Kids' dairy products gain momentum
        • Table IRI FDMx-Tracked Sales of Kids' Dairy Products, 2009-2013 (in millions of dollars and percent)
      • Yogurt dominates kids' dairy product category
      • Kids' snacks get boost through health and wellness positioning
        • Table IRI FDMx-Tracked Sales of Kids' Snacks, 2009-2013 (in millions of dollars and percent)
      • Kids' snacks fairly evenly divided between four segments
      • Families appreciate the convenience of frozen foods
        • Table IRI FDMx-Tracked Sales of Kids' Frozen Foods, 2009-2013 (in millions of dollars and percent)
      • Breakfast food commands largest share of kids' frozen food sales
      • Kids' beverages sales slow and steady
        • Table IRI FDMx-Tracked Sales of Kids' Beverages, 2009-2013 (in millions of dollars and percent)
      • Aseptic juices-a.k.a. juice boxes-are iconic kid beverage
      • Kids' cereal suffers from high-sugar association
        • Table IRI FDMx-Tracked Sales of Kids' Cereal, 2009-2013 (in millions of dollars and percent)
      • Cold cereal captures majority of kids' cereal sales
      • Shapes define kids' shelf-stable meals
        • Table IRI FDMx-Tracked Sales of Kids' Shelf-Stable Meals, 2009-2013 (in millions of dollars and percent)
      • Canned meals capture 80% of the shelf-stable kids' meal category
      • Package innovation provides boost to kids' produce sales
        • Table U.S. Sales of Kids' Produce, 2009-2013 (in millions of dollars and percent)
      • Shelf-stable fruits account for the majority of produce sales
    • Market Opportunities
      • Made by mom
      • Kidfresh
        • Table Kidfresh Category Performance in IRI FDMx-Tracked Sales, 2013 (in millions of dollars and percent)
      • Mom Made
        • Table Mom Made Food LLC Category Performance in IRI FDMx-Tracked Sales, 2013 (in dollars and percent)
      • marketed with love
  • The Marketers
    • Highlights
    • Selection criteria
    • Marketers: Kids Dairy Products
      • Overview
      • Dannon succeeds with smoothies
        • Table Dannon Category Performance in IRI FDMx-Tracked Sales, 2013 (in millions of dollars and percent)
      • Chobani capitalizes on health positioning of Greek yogurt
        • Table Chobani Category Performance in IRI FDMx-Tracked Sales, 2013 (in millions of dollars and percent)
    • Marketers: Kids Snacks
      • Overview
      • General Mills-Master of the character licensed fruit snacks
        • Table General Mills Inc. Company Category Performance in IRI FDMx-Tracked Sales, 2013 (in millions of dollars and percent)
      • Annie's takes a healthful approach to kids' snacks
        • Table Annie's Inc. Category Performance in IRI FDMx-Tracked Sales, 2013 (in millions of dollars and percent)
      • Clif Kid offers parents a nutritional and eco-friendly snack choice
        • Table Clif Bar & Company Category Performance in IRI FDMx-Tracked Sales, 2013 (in millions of dollars and percent)
      • Plum Kids infiltrating the kids' snack category
        • Table Plum Inc. Category Performance in IRI FDMx-Tracked Sales, 2013 (in millions of dollars and percent)
    • Marketers: Kids Frozen Foods
      • Overview
      • Kellogg's Eggo offers convenience and playability
        • Table Kellogg's Co. Category Performance in IRI FDMx-Tracked Sales, 2013 (in millions of dollars and percent)
      • Smucker's makes PB&J more convenient
        • Table JM Smucker Co. Category Performance in IRI FDMx-Tracked Sales, 2013 (in millions of dollars and percent)
    • Marketers: Kids Beverages
      • Overview
      • Campbell Soup leverages stealth health by integrating veggies into juice
        • Table Campbell Soup Co. Category Performance in IRI FDMx-Tracked Sales, 2013 (in millions of dollars and percent)
      • Nestlé Juicy Juice Fruitifuls exhibit strong growth
        • Table Nestlé USA Inc. Category Performance in IRI FDMx-Tracked Sales, 2013 (in millions of dollars and percent)
    • Marketers: Kids Cereal
      • Overview
      • Kellogg's comes full circle with Rice Krispies Treats brand
        • Table Kellogg Co. Category Performance in IRI FDMx-Tracked Sales, 2013 (in millions of dollars and percent)
    • Marketers: Kids Shelf-Stable Meals
      • Overview
      • Annie's continues to expand product lines and brand awareness
        • Table Annie's Inc. Category Performance in IRI FDMx-Tracked Sales, 2013 (in millions of dollars and percent)
      • Campbell maintains kids' soup sales by rotating character licenses
        • Table Campbell Soup Co. Category Performance in IRI FDMx-Tracked Sales, 2013 (in millions of dollars and percent)
    • Marketers: Kids Produce
      • Overview
      • Plum Kids Organics first mover in stand-up pouch packaging
        • Table Plum Inc. Category Performance in IRI FDMx-Tracked Sales, 2013 (in millions of dollars and percent)
      • GoGo Squeez takes pouch packaging mainstream
        • Table Materne North America Category Performance in IRI FDMx-Tracked Sales, 2013 (in millions of dollars and percent)
      • Nature's Child combines packaging with character licensing
        • Table Maverick Brands Category Performance in IRI FDMx-Tracked Sales, 2013 (in millions of dollars and percent)
    • Marketers: Foodservice
      • Overview
      • McDonald's and the Happy Meal
  • Marketing and New Product Trends
    • Highlights
    • Marketing to Kids: Challenges Exist
      • Marketers must tread carefully when targeting kids
      • Marketing label claims
      • Labeling allergens
      • Fat content
      • Locally produced
      • Organic
      • No added hormones
      • Omega-3 fatty acids
      • Healthy
      • Natural
    • Marketing Strategies
      • Appealing to parents
      • Marketing strategy: Good nutrition
      • Plum Organics
      • Marketing strategy: Healthy lifestyles
      • Capri Sun
      • Marketing strategy: Cause marketing
      • General Mills: Box Tops for Education
      • Nestlé Juicy Juice: Fruit for All
      • Target: Give with Target
      • Connecting with the Millennial mom
      • Marketing strategy: Blog power
      • Happy Family
    • New Product Trends
      • Innovative formulation creates kid appeal
      • Bite-sized perfect for kids
      • Color has impact
      • Shapes are fun
      • Nutrition kids need
      • Packaging leverages convenience, portion control, and playability
      • Convenience
      • Portion control
      • Playability
      • Kids' foods: It's all in the marketing
      • Character merchandising
      • Cause marketing
  • The Retail Marketplace
    • Highlights
    • Retail Overview
      • Retail sales of food and foodservice
        • Table Sales of Food at Home and Food Away from Home, 2000-2011 (in billions)
      • Top food store retailers
        • Table Top 20 U.S. Food Store Retailers, 2013 (in billions)
        • Table U.S. Food Store Sales by Leading Retailers, 2000-2011 (percent)
      • Retail merger and acquisition activity
      • Where consumers shop for food
        • Table Type of Store(s) Shopped on Most Recent Grocery Shopping Trip, 2013 (in percent of grocery shoppers)
      • Technology is changing how consumers shop for groceries
      • Handheld scanners in retail stores
      • Will digital coupons replace paper?
    • Retailers: Food at Home
      • Overview
        • Table Food Sales by Retail Segment, 2000-2011 (in billions)
      • Traditional food retailers
        • Table Traditional Food Retailers by Outlet Type, 2000-2011 (in billions)
      • Slow growth in food sales at grocery outlets
      • Convenience stores expanding food mix to compete with grocery
      • Specialty stores: Small but mighty
      • Nontraditional retailers
        • Table Nontraditional Food Sales by Outlet Type, 2000-2011 (in billions)
      • Supercenters replacing mass merchandisers
      • Dollar stores contributing to growth of other nontraditional food retailers
      • Non-store retailers
        • Table Non-store Food Sales by Outlet Type, 2000-2011 (in billions)
      • Kids' food and beverage opportunity: Home delivery and mail order
    • Retailers: Food Away from Home
      • Overview
        • Table Food Sales by Foodservice Segment, 2000-2011 (in billions)
      • Full-service restaurants have a narrow lead in restaurant sales
        • Table Restaurant Sales by Segment, 2000-2011 (in billions)
      • Restaurant operators must answer the demand for health on the kids' menu
  • The Consumer
    • Note on Simmons Data
    • Highlights
    • Purchase Decisions
      • Food products are leading category purchased
      • Opportunity:
        • Table Purchase Decisions, 2013 (percent of U.S. adults who purchased an item in the listed category in the last 12 months)
      • Kids influence parents' grocery choices
      • Kids as joint decision makers for food purchases
        • Table Joint Food Purchase Decision with Kids in Household, 2006-2013 (percent of U.S. adults who purchased food products in the last 12 months based on a joint decision with children in household)
      • Moms are more likely to consult kids when making food purchases
        • Table Joint Food Purchase Decision with Kids in Household, by Gender and Mom Status, 2013
      • Kids have more influence in Hispanic households
        • Table Joint Food Purchase Decision with Kids in Household, by Hispanic Origin, 2013
      • Older kids are more likely to help make purchase decisions
        • Table Joint Food Purchase Decision with Kids in Household, by Presence of Children in Household by Age, 2013 (index)
    • Parents' Attitudes toward Food
      • Move over breakfast, parents say lunch is the most important meal
        • Table Parents' Attitudes toward Meals, by Presence of Children in Household by Age, 2013 (index)
      • Parents with young kids are most influenced by coupons and nutrition
        • Table Parents' Attitudes toward Food Purchases, by Presence of Children in Household by Age, 2013 (index)
    • Parents' Attitude toward Advertising
      • Parents find advertising helpful when choosing kids' products
        • Table Parents' Attitudes toward Advertising, by Presence of Children in Household by Age, 2013 (index)
      • Older demographics show most concern for advertising to kids
        • Table Advertising to Children is Wrong, by Age, 2013
      • Moms influenced by kids' food product advertising
        • Table Advertising is Helpful in Choosing Products to Buy for Children, by Gender and Mom Status, 2013
      • Hispanics find advertising helpful in choosing kids' products
        • Table Advertising is Helpful in Choosing Products to Buy for Children, by Select Demographics, 2013
    • Parents' Attitude toward Shopping with Kids
      • Parents don't like kids' pestering, but find it hard to resist
        • Table Parents' Attitudes toward Shopping with Kids, by Presence of Children in Household by Age, 2013 (index)
      • Moms have a hard time saying "no"
        • Table Hard to Resist Children's Requests for Non-essential Purchases, by Gender and Mom Status, 2013
      • Pester power is more effective on Hispanic parents
        • Table Hard to Resist Children's Requests for Non-essential Purchases, by Hispanic Origin, 2013
      • Kids wield significant power in brand choice
        • Table Parents' Attitudes toward Shopping with Kids, by Presence of Children in Household by Age, 2013 (index)
      • Moms let kids choose brand
        • Table Children Have Significant Impact on Brands Chosen, by Gender and Mom Status, 2013
      • Hispanics' kids drive brand choice
        • Table Children Have Significant Impact on Brands Chosen, by Hispanic Origin, 2013

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