Mums and lunchboxes – September 2013

We’re two weeks into the new school term and lots of mums are thinking about lunches. Specifically what to put in their child’s lunchbox that keeps them happy and ensures they have a full tummy but meets school deadlines and doesn’t break the bank!

As you can tell from that list lunchboxes have become a bit of a hot topic for mums. In the last few years parents have come under increasing pressure from the Government and schools to provide a ‘healthy’ lunchbox. Most parents would agree this is really important but what do you do if your child won’t eat fruit and veg? And many parents choose packed lunches as an alternative to more costly school dinners – is it possible for parents to make the healthiest choice possible when catering to a budget? Is there a place for brands to help mums make lunchboxes less stressful?

We recently carried out some insight work with mums looking at what decisions they make when filling their child’s lunchbox. 

 • 74% of mums struggle to vary what they put in their childs lunchbox.
 • 61% of mums said they had school lunchbox guidelines to meet.

Mums main criteria and wants when filling the lunchbox: 

1. The children enjoy it (and fits their own personal needs i.e. allergies, fussy eaters, wants).
2. It fills them up, provides nutrients and vitamins and energy for the day.
3. It meets school guidelines.

Mums look out for healthy additions, and if it provides them 1, 2 or 3 of their 5 a day that’s great. Another tick off the lunchbox list. But most mums don’t actively look for low fat products, it is more about what the lunchbox gives their child rather than avoiding the ‘bad’ choices. I

If you are developing products for mums then you might be interested to know…

Top 5 inclusions in lunchboxes: 

1. 95% sandwich (cheese, ham and tuna are the top 3 filings)
2. 86% piece of fruit
3. 75% yoghurt
4. 61% cheese portion
5. 51% biscuit/mini packet of biscuits

But we did see indications that the usual lunchbox formula is changing ever so slightly in the quest to meet varying lunchbox needs.

About a fifth of mums mentioned some bespoke inclusions in the lunchbox, here’s how mums are doing it:

  • Homebaked products are on the up. 63% of mums regularly put home-baked products in their lunchbox. Could you use that information to create messaging that appeals to these mums?
  • Raw vegetable sticks are a regular for some kids – with carrots & cucumber sticks the favourite. There were other veg mentioned including gherkins, peapods and olives. 
  • Mini sausage or sausage roll were mentioned as an alternative to sandwiches. 
  • Savoury and sweet sometimes merge, possibly in attempt to balance what is deemed a healthy snack – so mums mentioned including savoury scones and brioche rolls. 
  • Kids don’t always go for ‘kid food’ – many mums mentioned dips such as hummus with breadsticks or rice and pasta salads with chicken strips. 
  • Jam sandwiches are here to stay – 10% regularly put them in their kid’s lunchbox. 
  • Cereal bars are the most popular new addition to lunch boxes. But many have to be nut free to meet school guidelines. Is there a growing gap in the market?

Most of all mums want to see more healthy and fruit based lunchbox items on supermarket shelves. And ideally kid sized. 

From online survey of 565 UK parents.

If you’d like to talk to us about working with MumPanel to help you get your products right for mums then give us a call.

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