Finicky kids realize seafood is healthy

Published on
August 4, 2009

Don’t let your kids’ feigned ignorance of health and seafood fool you — they know it’s good for them.

A new study by Chicago foodservice consulting firm Technomic shows that a majority of 6-year-olds to 12-year-olds are aware that fish is good for them. In addition, they order shrimp and sushi when they go out to eat.

More than two-thirds (66 percent) of the 1,200 kids surveyed in Technomic’s “Kids & Moms Consumer Trend Report” said that fish is a healthy food. In comparison, nearly 90 percent said that fresh vegetables and fresh whole fruits are healthy, 78 percent said salad is healthy and 72 percent said eggs are healthy.

Fish was the highest ranked protein in terms of its healthiness, followed by baked chicken (61 percent), grilled chicken (56 percent), steak (31 percent), pork (25 percent) and chicken nuggets and chicken fingers (24 percent).

In its survey of kids and 1,500 moms, Technomic discovered some new information about kids’ tastes, which can help restaurants tailor their menu offerings to them.

For example, 11 percent of 10- to 12-year-olds said that if they could choose any entrée in a restaurant, they would choose shrimp, 9 percent of 8- to 9-year-olds and 4 percent of 6- to 7-year-olds would choose shrimp.

“Older kids have a more mature palate and are willing to try seafood options,” said Sara Monnette, senior consumer research manager for Technomic. “Restaurants could take some of the items on the adult menu, such as steak and shrimp, and downsize it for older kids.”

In addition, many kids have ordered sushi at restaurants over the past six months. More than one-quarter (26 percent) of Asian children 6- to 12-years-old ordered sushi, followed by 11 percent of Hispanic kids, 7 percent of African-American children and 6 percent of Caucasian kids.

In related news, several seafood restaurants were recognized by OpenTable’s 2009 Diners’ Choice Awards for Best Kid-Friendly Restaurants. DiNardo’s Famous Seafood in Philadelphia, Ivar’s Acres of Clams in Seattle, Sam’s Chowder House in Half Moon Bay, Calif., and Summer Shack in Boston and Cambridge, Mass., were among the eateries that made the list.

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