Children were one of the first consumer groups that firms pursued in their marketing efforts. Though more manufacturers of healthier foods and drinks have repositioned their brands to attract children, the majority of such kid-specific products continue to stem from their traditional, sugary origins of confectionery-based cookie and cold cereal segments.

Among food and beverage items intended for kids, products fortified with vitamins and minerals are prevalent, with the purpose of supporting children’s growth and development. Firms regularly manufacture kid-based product ingredient lists with low-/no-/reduced-fat formulations to help parents more easily track their child’s nutrient intake. Ingredients that were “low-in” or “free from” sugar also were prominent within children’s food and beverage products. 

ConAgra Foods’ Chef Boyardee brand expanded its product line-up with new, hearty fork-sized pasta called Sealife Forkables. Targeted to children (as observed with all Chef Boyardee dishes), the pasta pieces are specifically designed to conveniently fit on the fork, making eating easier for kids aged 5-12 years  old. The altering of products to improve ease-of-use for consumers is one practice that more food and beverage companies are incorporating in their manufacturing. Each Sealife noodle contains multiple tiny holes for children to easily slide their fork through. In addition to its fun sea creature pasta shapes, Sealife Forkables also contains meatballs.

Information in this column is from the Global New Products Database, the premier source of global product intelligence, published by Mintel International Group; 351 W. Hubbard, 8th Floor; Chicago, IL 60610; call: 312-932-0600; fax: 312-932-0474; or e-mail