Researchers collected data through an online survey tool, Qualtrics, to assess the purchasing habits of both types of households. Participants were obtained through an online panel database, Kantar. Out of the total 1,440 respondents, 511 respondents indicated they frequently purchased food specifically for children, whereas 929 indicated they did not. The 521 respondents reported that they at least had one child in their household.
"The sample was targeted to be representative of the US population in terms of sex, age, income, education, and geographical region of residence as defined by the US Census Bureau (2016)," said author Mario Ortez, PhD student at Purdue University in West Lafayette, IN, USA.
Findings showed that the households with children brought frequently and more quantities of fluid milk, fluid milk with higher fat-content and yoghurt than other households. Cheese and milk are bought as a part of a meal, and yoghurt as a snack. It was also found that households largely reported checking the price, expiration date, and nutritional information (in that order) on egg, milk, and meat labels.
Matthew Lucy, PhD, Editor-in-Chief of JDS Communications, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO, USA, states that, "This study demonstrates the continued belief among American consumers that dairy products are an important part of a healthy diet fed to children. The popularity of whole milk, cheese, and yogurt within these households suggests that children enjoy the taste of dairy products and are happy to have them served during regular meals and at snack time."
Product labelling and targeting of segments can be improved by using this information which can lead to the betterment of the dairy industry.
"Future studies can build on this work by evaluating whether there is a spill-over effect from purchasing specifically for children and the general dairy and protein product purchasing habits of those households," said Dr. Courtney Bir, PhD, co-author of the study and assistant professor, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, USA.