Research Outline

Snack Food Purchase - Child Influence


To determine the level of influence kids have on snack food purchase decisions made by mom (or another adult in the household) as well as case studies of brands that have benefited from advertising directly to kids.

Early Findings

  • The top three considerations influencing parent's or guardian's decisions when purchasing snacks for kids include health-related concerns (26 percent), child influence (21 percent), and habit (12 percent), according to a recent study published by Science Direct.
  • Child influence was further broken down by the study into three factors. In most cases, child influence is exhibited through the child's preference (41 percent) — that is, the child's liking of a particular snack. The other two factors are because the child asked for a particular snack (38 percent), and the child choosing him/herself (20percent).
  • In another study published by Research Gate, the most common methods by which children influence snack food purchase decision include making a verbal request (41 percent), reaching for the item (24 percent), and pointing to the item (19 percent).
  • According to a study published by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, kids aged 3–5 who saw ads within the past seven days were 34 percent more likely to eat specific cereals than kids who did not see the ads.
  • The study further added that kids within the age bracket are significantly influenced by the type of ads they watch and generally incapable of critically analyzing ad content.
  • Food brands in the United States generally avoid advertising foods high in fat, sugar, or salt (HFSS) directly to children below the age of 16. Although there are series of regulations around targeting kids and teens with food ads.