Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), the leading global provider of consumer, shopper, and market insights for CPG, retail, and healthcare industries, announced today the release of the second installment of its landmark Healthy Kids study. The report explores the forces behind children and youth™s eating habits, rising childhood obesity statistics, and outlines solutions to help reverse the trend. Further, to address in-store confusion resulting from aggressive healthy, branding and labeling, such as low fat and low salt, by food manufacturers, IRI created the study to show retailers how to arm parents with the information they need to select products that provide their children with better-for-you healthy meals, beverages and snacks.

IRI conducted ground-breaking research with the goal of establishing clear better-for-you standards across 20 kid-driven categories and nine better-for-you attributes. IRI recommends that retailers adopt these standards, which are supported by medical research, as the cornerstone of a new wellness strategy designed to build loyalty among health-driven shoppers.

Using fresh perspectives from medical practitioners, health advocates, teachers, and more than 150 parents facing this critical health issue on a daily basis, Healthy Kids II provides real-world information and experienced insights to not only determine the causes of childhood obesity, but also to propose potential solutions for kids and their parents. This positive action includes a retailer commitment to product marketing innovations, consumer education initiatives, in-store navigation tools, and shopper messaging efforts fostering healthier product choices.

As a nation, while we are starting to see progress in battling the true crisis of child health, we need to remain conscious and vigilant, said Sean Seitzinger, senior vice president, IRI Center for Retail Innovation. Through refined, incisive, and targeted data development, our Healthy Kids II report lays bare the tremendous challenge our youth face. Yet, it also presents a distinct opportunity we have as their caregivers to reverse this trend through education and cooperation on multiple levels to change their eating habits and restore their healthy futures.

IRI information gathered from multiple sources, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shows that 21 percent of U.S. children aged 6 to 17 are currently identified as overweight. By 2020, that number is projected to jump to nearly one-third of all U.S. kids. In the report, IRI highlights the following three factors as the root of childhood obesity:

  • Less activity “ Only one-third of U.S. high school students currently meet recommended levels; participation in school physical education programs dropped 14 percentage points between 1991 and 2003.
  • Mass marketing of food-related messaging “ The average 8-12 year-old sees 7,600 TV ads per year promoting various food items, such as candy, snacks, and fast food. Only one in 50 is deemed to be for healthy products.
  • More entertainment “ Currently, 61 percent of kids ages 9-15 play video games on a daily basis; children ages 8-18 spend an average of 44.5 hours in front of a computer, TV or gaming screen “ more than any other single waking activity.

IRI findings show that parents are increasingly looking to outside influences, such as schools, government agencies, and, particularly, grocery retailers, to support them in making healthier meal choices for their children. According to the study, 75 percent of parents confirm that they are making a conscious effort to purchase healthy foods, yet just 35 percent believe that retailers are doing a good job of helping them find healthy selections for their families. For retailers, this gap offers an open opportunity to meet the challenge of better in-store communication and a more informative health-focused shopping experience for parents, translating into a sizeable revenue growth potential for responsive retailers.

The report urges retailers to commit to a strong family wellness program as part of their overall customer service and store communications plan. Tapping into the emerging market of health-focused parents, IRI recommends the following action steps by retailers to meet this new shopper-focused demand:

      1.   Implement new “better-for-you” standards across product categories to clearly segment better-for-you products from mainstream products
2. Collaborate with manufacturers to optimize availability of healthy assortments
3. Develop in-store shopper education and navigation initiatives

According to IRI™s Seitzinger, a focused effort on the part of CPG retailers and manufacturers will benefit kids, parents and retailers alike.

In the end, we believe education, cooperation, and collaboration will begin to turn the tide and produce positive results for all, said Seitzinger. As an industry, CPG manufacturers and retailers working together can lighten the load for parents, affect healthy change for kids, and bump up their bottom lines all by simply making it easier to make healthy choices.

About the Report

Findings presented in Healthy Kids Report II: Implementing the Better-for-You Standard, are based upon analysis of consumer data from the IRI Consumer Network„. To purchase a copy of the complete report, contact Sean Seitzinger at

About IRI

IRI is the world™s leading provider of consumer, shopper, and retail market intelligence and insights supporting 95 percent of the FORTUNE Global 500 consumer packaged goods (CPG), retail and healthcare companies. Only IRI offers the unique combination of integrated market information, automated and predictive analytics, innovative enabling technologies, and domain expertise. With IRI, leading retailers and manufacturers are able to quickly discover breakthrough insights driving smarter decisions and actions across the enterprise for breakthrough results. Companies around the world depend on IRI for improved productivity, stronger brands, and dramatic revenue growth. For more information, visit

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