Digitized generation Alpha with millennial mother on the way

Tholen – The Fresh & Fruity or Sweet Sisters? The first generation to reach children through influencers with ‘tailored marketing’ is on the way. They watch vlogs for hours by ‘congeners’ with whom they can identify. “Keep a close eye on children, because children create change,” said trend watcher Anneke Ammerlaan, one of the presenters at Just Eat it?! on October 13. The central question was how to achieve successful product and concept innovations for young people.

During Just Eat it?! symposium, a Kids Tasting Challenge was held, where children developed their own dish

Unlike many other countries, the Netherlands has traditionally not had an exciting food culture, but this is changing under the influence of migration. Children used to be spoiled with Fristi, Danone and chicken liver sausage, the modern mother has replaced it with the air-on-water drinking bottle with fruit scent, vegetable candies and hummus, notes Anneke. The mother of those children (Generation Alpha) is a millennial who has to keep a lot of balls in the air. This ‘hummus mother’ has a full-time job, a social network to maintain, sports and takes care of children.

Trend watcher Anneke Ammerlaan from Visiononfood

This mother is willing to give up some of the care and the food industry can of course help with that. In addition, her children are more accessible through social media, childcare and sports. Reach them in a creative way. When you build a brand, make sure you also set aside a budget so that each child gets, for example, a branded apple after training, Anneke suggested. Or a nice cooking box for children for holiday periods. In any case, be creative with your product on social media.

Stealth ads for candy in popular vlog of influencers popular with young children, the cute sisters

Social media plays an increasingly important role in children’s lives, and precisely there the problem is that the dividing line between information and influence is very blurred. “Although it is mandatory to indicate that the content on the internet or a series is sponsored, those reports hardly ever come in,” says Associate Professor Tilburg University Frans Folkvord. YouTube is the preferred medium for children between 0 and 12 years old, where the following of sponsored content from influencers is popular.

Associate Professor Tilburg University Frans Folkvord

“In those vlogs, it is unclear that the content has been paid for by companies. Furthermore, these companies use big data to create profiles for customization in marketing.” Also problematic is that 91% of the $1.8 billion spent annually on marketing goes to unhealthy foods and fast food. Less than 1% goes to fruit and vegetables.

Suzanne Bisschops (l) director Kokkerelli and program manager Youth, nutrition and health together with moderator Simone van Trier (r)

These skewed proportions are almost discouraging, observed daytime moderator Simone van Trier. For a solution to this, Frans Folkword looks to the government, which can regulate and enforce. Fruit and vegetables could also be promoted more from the fresh produce sector, but this sector is too fragmented to get it off the ground.

Professor Remco Havermans, specially appointed professor in Youth Nutrition & Health at Maastricht University

Professor Remco Havermans, specially appointed professor in Youth, Nutrition and Health at Maastricht University, does extensive research into the psychology of eating and in particular into promoting healthy eating habits in children. Listening to children when they develop innovations can help them be more successful, as Kokkereli University is doing, seems obvious. There are indications that point to this in the research. It is clear, however, that in addition to product development, there is also a need for food education and government regulation to achieve changed eating habits among young people.

Jenny Peters, product marketing at ZON fruit&vegetables about the development of the Yu&Me snack tomato concept

In addition to the three main speakers, the participants could follow workshops, including a workshop ‘How do you make vegetables attractive to children?’ and ‘Rewarding children’s vegetable consumption works’ and there was a market of innovations and information on research.

Ida Hendricks with the educational GrowWizzKid, where children and young people learn about cultivation and health by starting to grow vegetables at school

Art Muijnsenberg from Sudryso dries and processes b-choice fruits and vegetables by ‘roasting them in water’

The province of Limburg shared water cocktails, pure Limburg water with an infusion of fruit and herbs

‘Spoon-like concepts make vegetable food a breeze’

Chantal Linders from Greenhabit supports people with sustainable behavior change through an adventure wheel filled with vegetables

Carel Vereijken, BASF on How to make vegetables attractive to children?

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