Healthy items, fast food attract parents of Gen Alpha

WASHINGTON — A majority of parents with Gen Alpha children (age 9 and under) say it’s important to buy fruits, vegetables and other healthy food, but going to McDonald’s is another common occurrence, according to a survey released in March by Morning Consult.

A Washington-based global intelligence company, Morning Consult in December surveyed 2,000 parents of Gen Alpha children and 1,000 parents with children age 18 and under.

When asked what was “very important” when thinking about foods and drinks to buy for their children, 66% of Gen Alpha parents said fruits and vegetables, which were followed by fresh foods and a variety of foods, both at 53%. Limiting sugary drinks at 46% and limiting sugar consumption at 39% were other top answers.

“Sugar is an important issue,” Morning Consult said. “The share of Gen Alpha parents looking to limit their children’s consumption of sugar or sugary drinks is roughly 10 points higher than the share of parents of teens. Even if parents become less concerned about sugar as their children age, it’s a large gap to close, suggesting this is part of the foundation of healthy eating, parents are looking to instill in Alphas.”

Thirty-six percent of Gen Alpha parents said it was very important to limit fast food, but 43% said their children ate fast food at least weekly. Forty-four percent of Gen Alpha parents who make at least $100,000 annually said they dine out weekly, which compared to 23% of the Gen Alpha parents who make less than $50,000.

When the Gen Alpha parents were asked if their children had a favorite restaurant, McDonald’s garnered mentions in 37% of open-ended, unaided responses. Seven percent mentioned pizza restaurants with responses divided among brands like Domino’s, Pizza Hut and Papa Johns. When asked about snack brands, Goldfish ranked highest at 7% of open-ended responses.

“From a young age, Alphas are talking about health — and healthy eating — with their parents,” said Morning Consult. “That will have major ramifications on the choices they make as adults. That said, Alphas are fervent fans of fast food. It’s all a balance for Gen Alpha parents.”

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