Dole is giving the foodservice industry an insight into kidsâ minds when they eat out.
Westlake Village, Calif.-based Dole Food Co. Incâs foodservice Web site added two tools to help operators reach younger diners.
A video â Kids Speak Out on Kidsâ Menus â includes interviews with children about the types of foods they like to eat and how they would choose to make their own meals more healthful. It also follows a group of kids through a dinner hosted by a Four Seasons restaurant.
âKids need to be trained between 2 and 5 years â thatâs when their taste buds develop,â said Dieter Preiser, a chef featured in the video. âI know itâs easier to buy the french fries ready for them, but itâs so much better for them to have fresh fruit, fresh vegetables.â
During the dinner, kids tried some of their favorite foods prepared using more healthful techniques, and tried fruits and vegetables in some new ways.
According to Mintel Group International, the population of children under the age of 12 in the U.S. should hit 1.3 million by 2014. When theyâre 6-8 years, most order from a kidsâ menu, but once they hit 12, that drops to about 45%, Mintel reports.
Chicago-based Mintelâs research is the second new addition to the Dole foodservice site.
The PowerPoint presentation from Mintel includes childrenâs menu research results, culinary techniques and how-toâs for kidsâ menu development, according to a Dole news release. According to the presentation, the word fresh topped marketing claims made for food and beverages on kidsâ menus.
It also said fewer kids are avoid vegetables altogether. Apples, mandarin oranges, grapes, pineapple, banana, berries and avocados were among kidsâ favorite fruits, while potatoes, carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, corn, celery, green beans, squash, spinach and cucumber made the top vegetables list.