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Kids have serious 'pester power' on family food purchases

The breakfast cereal in a family’s cupboard is often dictated by the children.

Image: child cereal image via Shutterstock

THE INFLUENCE OF children on their parents’ purchasing decisions is strongest when it comes to buying food. The latest Pulse survey from media agency Carat has broken down the areas where children’s ‘pester power’ is most obvious.

The choice of breakfast cereal eaten by the family is the decision most open to being swayed by what the juniors in the household want. After that, their influence is most felt in the choice of snacks and treats, then on sport equipment and clothing, cheese and yoghurt and to a much more moderate effect, the choice of food for general meals.

They have less influence on the choice of TV service provider, general groceries, but are starting to have some power in the computer, tablet or phone used in a household.

See this table for the full rundown:

table courtesy of Carat

There are some other insights into how Irish households shop available in the findings:

  • Women have more influence in food shopping in non-parenting relationships
  • In two-parent families, the mother is more likely to make food purchase decisions on her own; if men do the food shopping, they tend to make those decisions in conjunction with other family members
  • In single-parent families, men are “less likely to involve their children in family menus/food purchase decisions”; women in single-parent families do involve the children in menu choices but still take control over what food brands and products are bought
  • When it comes to services and utilities, be that banking, TV and internet providers, motoring and so on, 34 per cent of men with a partner/spouse say they make the decisions in those areas while 25 per cent of women say they are the sole decision maker.

There is one area on which partners seem to be able to agree – they are most likely to make decisions together on decor/DIY.

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