More fat, good fat: An emergent growth trend in kids’ food

Beliefs about food and health that have until now only been found in the adult market are starting to show up in packaged foods designed for children. 

“More fat and healthier fat” is one of the growing adult food and nutrition preferences, a result of the surge of interest in low-carb and keto in the years 2017-21.

“In the over-supplied and increasingly competitive market for pouched baby food, US brand Serenity Kids has used a positioning connected to quality fat and quality animal protein, growing from quirky challenger brand to being stocked in Target and Kroger,” said Julian Mellentin, director of New Nutrition Business and author of a new report, “Strategies & Trends in Kids Nutrition”.

Serenity appeals to the growing numbers of American parents who embrace both protein and fat as healthy nutrients and have lost confidence in official dietary guidelines. The brand deploys messaging such as:

  • “Your baby needs 30g of fat per day! This supports brain development, hormone regulation and builds the immune system.”
  • “Fat is also needed for your baby’s digestive system to absorb fat-soluble vitamins like A, D, E and K.”
  • “Fats are satiating foods, which means your baby will feel full longer and get a longer, higher-quality night’s sleep”.

 Serenity’s products rely on fat from fish or meat as well as avocado or olive oil.

“Brands such as Serenity reflect the increasing fragmentation of people’s beliefs about food and health. There will certainly also be a cohort of parents who see fat as unhealthy and want to feed their child mostly plant-based. But the fat-friendly are a new niche that won’t go away. If anything, looking at the adult market, the direction of travel is clear and ‘more fat’ will become a more normal feature of kids’ foods,” said Mellentin.

“Fragmented beliefs about health mean that in order to grow brands must connect to multiple trends, something that Serenity does well.”

“As birth-rates around the world decline sharply – with the birth-rate cratering in China and the UK’s fertility rate the lowest since 1938 – kids’ nutrition brands will find themselves fighting more intensely for a share of a shrinking market. In an attempt to differentiate themselves and carve out a niche, more kids’ brands will set out to connect to parents’ food beliefs and this will drive use of ‘healthy fat’ ingredients, such as avocado, coconut oil and nut butters,” added Mellentin.