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The ramifications for K-12 meal programs are obvious as the influence of parents on their kids is undeniable, notes Y-Pulse Executive Director Sharon Olson.

Survey examines K-12 parent attitudes about food

Culinary adventure, food sensitivity and provenance transparency are among the top-of-mind issues, according a new Y-Pulse survey of parents of children 7 to 17 years old.

New research from the Y-Pulse organization provides perspective on the expectations of parents of children 7-17 years old for food and dining that are likely to influence their children returning to school this fall. Here are five key findings…

Culinary Adventurism Driven by Easy Meal Kit Availability: 77% said they consider themselves adventurous eaters as the expanded availability and affordability of cooking kits have made them more of a regular source for home cooks, with 55% saying that meal kits are part of their weekly grocery routine and 78% agreeing that international foods are easier to prepare at home when starting with a prepared sauce or flavoring component.

Food Sensitivity Issue Much Larger Than Just Diagnosed Allergies: while food allergies affect approximately 8% of US children according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), food sensitivities beyond diagnosed allergies affect many more as 51% of parents reported that someone in their household has dietary restrictions, sensitivities or allergies and 47% noted that it is difficult to find interesting recipes that fit the dietary needs of their families.

No Mystery in Food History: today’s parents want to know about the provenance of the food they are buying, with 84% either agreeing or strongly agreeing with the statement, “Knowing the details about the source of my food is important to me.”

Looking for Culinary Engagement: engagement beyond e-commerce is gaining importance with the parents saying that they not only like to connect with their favorite eateries, but also appreciate cooking tutorials from culinary experts, with 66% saying they have engaged their favorite restaurants/bars on social media and 82% saying they would enjoy a video tutorial on home cooking from a local chef.

Cooking As Entertainment: Culinary entertainment is a part of everyday life for parents, with 86% admitting that they watch celebrity chef videos more for entertainment than cooking advice.

The ramifications for K-12 meal programs are obvious as the influence of parents on their kids is undeniable, notes Y-Pulse Executive Director Sharon Olson.

“The children of the Millennial and Gen X parents who participated in this study will be defining the new normal for expectations of food and dining options as they return to school,” she offers. “These are digitally-engaged parents who appreciate culinary experiences and have confidence cooking in their own kitchens and exploring new cuisines from restaurants.”

Overall, Y-Pulse surveyed 2,101 consumers nationwide, with this report focusing on 407 parents of children between the ages of 7 and 17 and comparing their responses to the general audience. Participants were asked questions about specific aspects of their food and dining experiences at home and away from home.

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