mom and child snacking

Trends in Kids' Snacking

The emergence of new routines following the pandemic is shaping trends in kids’ snacking. Explore these changes in kids’ snacking and see what’s most important to parents when purchasing snacks for their kids.


Parents want snacks for their kids that are:

  • Easy to take on the go and mess-free
  • Low in sugar
  • Low in fat
  • High in protein
  • Fortified with vitamins and minerals

Snacks are an Important Part of Kids’ Diets

With kids at home during much of the COVID lockdown and health on the minds of parents, some shifts are occurring in kids’ snacking habits. Among households with kids, 53% report an increase in snacking since the pandemic, compared to only 28% for households without kids.1

This increase in snacking may indicate that snacks represent a larger proportion of kids’ diets than before. This makes healthier snacking more important than ever—a fact of which many parents seem to be aware. In fact, 85% of households with kids report buying healthier snacks to have on hand at home since COVID-19, compared to 64% of households with no kids.2

Gain some inspiration from the video below and check out our latest product concepts created to inspire your next product in kids snacking! 

Parents Always on the Go, Even at Home

Even with more time spent at home, the need for convenience remains a major factor for parents when choosing snacks for their kids. In fact, 30% of parents say it’s very important that snacks for the family are easy to eat or drink without a mess, while 27% indicate it’s very important that they’re easy to take with them on the go.3

family reaching for veggies

Health Aspects Parents are Looking for in Kids’ Snacks

Reduced fat and sugar are key attributes appealing to parents right now in kids’ snacks. Parents have even stricter health guidelines for their kids’ snacks when it comes to fat and sugar than for snacks for themselves. That's likely why 31% parents indicate low in sugar is very important in snacks for their kids (vs. 24% for themselves), while 17% say low fat or lower in fat is very important for kids’ snacks (vs. 15% for snacks for themselves).4

Kids’ snacks with protein is another area to watch. Parents have an especially high awareness of their kids’ protein intake, with over 3 in 4 parents indicating they’re aware of how much protein their child consumed in the last twenty-four hours.5 One in four parents say "high in protein" is a very important attribute in a snack for their kids.6

Many parents are also mindful of essential nutrients in kids’ snacks, with added vitamins and minerals very important to one in five parents when choosing kids' snacks.7 Essential nutrients to support kids’ immunity (e.g., vitamin C), bones (e.g., calcium and vitamin D), and brain health (e.g., iron) are especially important to parents. Over the past four years, vitamin C has been leading as the top micronutrient in new kids’ product launches at 62%, followed by vitamin D at 57%, and calcium at 55%.

Top Ten Micronutrients in New Products for Kids, January 2017-March 2021

Micronutrient % of Products with Micronutrient
Vitamin C 62%
Vitamin D 57%
Calcium 55%
Vitamin B3 (niacin) 48%
Vitamin B1 (thiamin) 48%
Iron 47%
Vitamin B2 (riboflavin) 44%
Vitamin E 44%
Vitamin A 44%
Vitamin B9 (folic acid) 44%
Source: Mintel, Product launches for toddlers/kids in US since 2017

Making Snacks Kids and Parents Will Love

As healthy trends continue to grow in kids’ snacks, small healthy changes to product formulations like reducing fat and sugar or adding protein, vitamins, and minerals can help products stand out on the shelf. To support brands in creating kids snacks that will also satisfy parents, Glanbia Nutritionals offers a comprehensive portfolio of functional protein solutions, plant-based solutions, as well as custom premix solutions and innovative bioactive ingredients like a balanced milk mineral complex.


1-4. The Hartman Group, Snacking: Emerging, Evolving and Disrupted, October 2020.
5. FMCG Gurus, Early Life Nutrition – US, January 2019.
6-7. The Hartman Group, Snacking: Emerging, Evolving and Disrupted, October 2020.
8. Mintel, Product launches for toddlers/kids in US since 2017.

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