Food manufacturers

Tate & Lyle: What do parents want from food manufacturers?

In the wake of the global pandemic, health and wellness have taken center stage and consumers are increasingly focused on improving health or maintaining health. In our research conducted in China, Indonesia and Brazil in early 2021, we asked adults what health benefits they intended to focus on in the long term due to COVID-19 and the pandemic. Immune health topped the list with 73% of consumers saying they will focus on it long term. Respondents also indicated they would focus on mental health (59%), sleep benefits (52%), heart health (51%) and gut health (48%). 1.

The impact of the pandemic on children’s health

But how has the pandemic impacted children’s health? And what do parents and carers expect from manufacturers? A recent study by the International Food Information Council (IFIC) reported that 10% of American parents said their child’s diet had decreased due to the pandemic due to increased snacking, access reduced to fresh foods and unhealthy and convenient food choices. However, 31% said their child’s nutrition had improved during the pandemic due to them being at home more, with parents being able to monitor their eating habits and provide more ready meals to the House. Nutritional value is the most important factor when choosing foods and beverages for children. more important than the child’s tastes and price. A child’s growth and development and the health of the immune system are the top food and drink considerations among parents and/or caregivers 2.

What is the primary concern of parents and caregivers?

From our own global research, we know that 85% of consumers with children under 18 in their household read nutrition labels. This is significantly higher than childless households (74%) 3. When reading nutrition labels, 63% of consumers with children in their household look for calories, followed by total sugars (56%) and vitamins (51%). 47% look at added sugars and 32% look at dietary fiber 3 . With calories, sugar, and immune health being top concerns for parents and caregivers when making food and beverage choices for their children, manufacturers have the opportunity to make products more nutritious with little or no added sugar and/or calories and nutrients such as fiber to support gut health, immunity and aid in sugar reduction.

Manufacturers should make children’s food and drink healthier

So where does the responsibility for child nutrition lie? 74% of UK parents who buy drinks for their child say it is a duty of manufacturers to make children’s drinks healthier 4. In Germany, 51% of consumers agree that there are not enough healthy packaged snacks available for children 5. Market innovation over the past five years in food and beverage products, especially for children, shows how manufacturers are bolstering health credentials with additional benefits and nutrients. Globally, launches of children’s foods and beverages with no added sugar or low/no/reduced sugar claims increased the most in nutrition drinks (+55%), cold cereals (+26 %), biscuits/sweet biscuits (+20%) and yoghurt with a spoon (+8%). Globally, launches of fiber-containing children’s foods and beverages increased the most in milk drinks (+21%), processed cheeses (+16%), plant-based drinks (+ 9%), nutritional drinks (+7%) 6 .

As parents and caregivers focus more on the health and well-being of their children, manufacturers have an opportunity to drive innovation so parents and caregivers have more nutritious options to choose from. This presents opportunities for manufacturers to respond with reduced-sugar, fiber-enriched innovation.

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1 T&L Exclusive Research, 2021, China, Indonesia, Brazil
2 International Food Information Council, Knowledge, Understanding, and Behaviors When Feeding Young Children: Insights from U.S. Parents and Guardians, March 2021
3 T&L Proprietary Research, 2017/2020/2021, 17 markets worldwide, % read almost always/sometimes
4 Mintel, Juice for kids: a healthy future?, November 2021
5 Mintel, Kids’ snacks need to catch up on gut health, July 2021
6 Mintel GNPD, CAGR 2016-2021