Tools for Innovation: Kids Need to Snack

Children, especially those under eight, need to refuel to recharge throughout the day.

Each Cheese Animal contains 17g of American pasteurized cheese. When the plastic is peeled back, kids have an animal-shaped piece of cheese to snack on.
Children, especially those under eight, need to refuel to recharge throughout the day.

The best approach is to consume healthful snacks, such as dairy foods. Unfortunately, dairy products have a challenging time competing with Rugrats™ fruit chews and Elmo cookies, and even a harder time with extreme-flavored salty snacks, which are targeted to money-in-the-pocket tweens.

According to an April 2002 survey conducted by Impulse Research Corp., Los Angeles, almost all kids (95%) like to have cool, fun snacks in their lunch box; however, the majority says they "only sometimes" get a fun lunch.

When it comes to the types of foods and snacks packed, almost half of all moms avoid packing foods that require a spoon or fork. Interestingly, when such foods are packed, about half of the kids surveyed say that parents sometimes (47%) or often (4%) forget to pack the spoon or fork.

For older kids who need more to refuel, SuperLong Twist-Ums are 1.13-oz, as compared to typical 1-oz string cheeses. Lite String-Ums are lower in fat and calories than regular mozzarella string cheese, appealing to tween girls who have started counting calories.
Hand-held foods are the way to go, with the obvious dairy fits being yogurt tubes and snacking cheese.

Snacking cheese marketers are going places they have never gone before in efforts to attract kids. For example, late last year, Kraft Foods, Northfield, Ill., rolled out Color-Ums™, green-colored mozzarella string cheese that had characters from the hit movie "Monsters, Inc." on package labels. Kraft is also twisting Colby cheese with mozzarella for a dual-color product called Twist-ums™.

Strings or sticks, as well as cheese cubes, which debuted into the snacking scene a few years back, are just the beginning. American Dairy Brands, Columbus, Ohio, a division of Dairy Farmers of America, uses innovative three-dimensional molds to turn pasteurized processed cheese into mini baseballs, basketballs, footballs and soccer balls, which are sold in 70-count bags.

Each Cheese Animal contains 17g of American pasteurized cheese. When the plastic is peeled back, kids have an animal-shaped piece of cheese to snack on.
Another form of three-dimensional cheese uses thermoformable plastic to create individual packs that can be decorated with bold graphics, and even be contoured into animal or other kid-friendly shapes. These packages can also be used to contain squeezable cream cheese spread or other spreads or cultured products.

Stonyfield Farm, Londonderry, N.H., recently redesigned and renamed two yogurt lines that were formerly targeted to younger kids in efforts to broaden appeal. In fact, what the company has done is create a family of cool yogurts for kids to grow with and take with through the pre-teen years.

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