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Checking in at the grocery checkout

A whopping 80% of our tween respondents shop for groceries with their parents at least some of the time. They often make purchase decisions about snacks, lunch foods, fruit and dessert items, with several being allowed free reign over the whole bill. Our panelists say they look at both the product and price when considering whether to pick something up, but they have clear brand favorites and rarely go generic.
October 1, 2003

A whopping 80% of our tween respondents shop for groceries with their parents at least some of the time. They often make purchase decisions about snacks, lunch foods, fruit and dessert items, with several being allowed free reign over the whole bill. Our panelists say they look at both the product and price when considering whether to pick something up, but they have clear brand favorites and rarely go generic.

Promotions featured on product packaging can grab a kid’s attention, if it’s an item they already like. A full 69% of Reactorz kids say they have entered a contest they saw advertised on a food package, and the vast majority of this connected generation prefers to enter on-line rather than mailing in an entry or dropping it off in-store.

As the line between grocery store and department store continues to blur and both channels carry an increasing amount of food and non-food items, the family grocery-shopping trip has become more interesting for kids. While the majority of non-food purchases are toys and magazines, many kids also ask for books, CDs, videos and clothes. Kids love the fact that they can get these products at grocery stores, and many wish their local store had more of the same.

The traditional, weekly, structured shopping trip complete with itemized checklist has been consigned to the past. Today’s time-pressed families grab a trip to the store whenever they need to, sometimes making several outings a week. Most kids don’t help their parents plan the meals before or while grocery shopping, but they still have to do their share and help out with meal preparation.

When they make specific requests for food products, kids are rarely turned down, unless the item has too much sugar, or is too expensive. Dunkaroos is a kid-targeted product that was cited a few times as a failed request on both grounds. There are so many snack foods on the market these days that kids couldn’t agree on their favorites. General categories like chocolate, chips and cookies came up most often, with ketchup voted the best chip flavor and chocolate chip winning out on the cookie front.

Kid Insight!

Don’t underestimate the consumption sophistication of kids. They are very conscious of product value, price and quality, and they tend not to be swayed by licensed characters on food products.

What they said:

‘I like going grocery shopping because I can pick out fun things for my lunch.’ (girl, 11)

‘Me and my dad usually go grocery shopping once a week.’ (boy, 11)

‘We go almost every week. We go to Costco. They have everything there from clothes to coffee. You should go there too.’ (boy, 8)

‘I usually eat what is in the house, but if I see someone else with a new type of snack, I ask my mom if she can get it. She usually says yes, but ends up forgetting.’ (girl, 10)

‘I won’t switch brands just because of a character on the box, but maybe for a good contest like the one that Kraft has now. But otherwise, I’m not switching because a good brand is better than some other thing that has the Hulk on it.’ (girl 11)

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