According to 2008 U.S. Census estimates, children and adolescents 17 and younger make up nearly a quarter of the U.S. population. As Frank Morley, CEO of the omega-3 supplement company Coromega, aptly noted in a recent interview, this group represents the future of, well, everything. “Children are the future of America and of the entire planet,” Morley said. “Their health, well-being and future mental firepower are extremely important long term.”
But in the United States and other developed countries, this future is being severely threatened—by an alarming childhood obesity epidemic and by the increase in serious, lifelong health problems related to our children’s growing waistlines, including type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Of course, these and other health issues facing kids today are indisputably linked to the foods they eat—at home, at school and while on the go. In an effort to improve the quality and health profile of the foods and drinks being consumed by kids, food and beverage manufacturers of all shapes and sizes have launched new products or reformulated old ones with the specific goal of delivering better nourishment to children.
The good news—for kids and the U.S. nutrition industry—is that parents are buying these healthier children’s products, in many cases in place of less-nutritious fare. Nutrition Business Journal estimates that the U.S. healthy kids’ market generated $10.1 billion in consumer sales in 2008, with the vast majority of sales coming from functional foods and beverages formulated for or marketed to children. Sales of healthy children’s products made up approximately 10% of total U.S. nutrition industry sales last year.
After conducting a detailed product survey and sales analysis of the healthy kids’ market, NBJ has concluded that the children’s nutrition industry is ripe for growth, even in the current economic climate. Furthermore, plenty of opportunities remain for innovators and entrepreneurs to enter and make a splash in what is likely to become an increasingly dynamic and healthy consumer product category—and one that, hopefully, will actually improve the way the majority of children eat.
Available this month, NBJ’s 2009 U.S. Healthy Kids Market Overview provides a detailed analysis of the recession-resilient children’s nutrition market by these product categories: natural & organic foods and beverages, functional foods and beverages, supplements, and natural & organic personal care and household products. To order a copy of the issue, subscribe to NBJ or download a free 32-page sample issue, go to www.nutritionbusinessjournal.com.