Student outdoors eating lunch (selective focus)

Children have gone back to school, and whether that school is in person or virtual, they need nutrition to get them through the day. According to global intelligence platform Streetbees, that nutrition is taking the form of more packed lunches and more packaged snacks.

Only 29% of children in the United States have returned to in-person schooling so far. Although their priority is to provide healthy food for their children, about half of parents are also concerned about having other people prepare their children’s food. As a result, the proportion of children taking packed lunches to school is currently 50%, up from 40% prior to the pandemic.

Source: Streetbees

Not only that, but many children are eating more packaged snacks. Nearly three-quarters of children snack outside of their lunch hour, and one-third of parents report purchasing more packaged snacks. This is true whether children are going to school in person (25%) or online (33%).

The most commonly purchased snacks are savory ones, with potato chips, crackers, and cereal/protein bars making up the top three.

Source: Streetbees

These results suggest that parents are on the lookout for healthy, safe, and convenient food options for their children. “This creates an opportunity for brands who are leveraging their communication channels to promote long-lasting energy, as well as nutritional information and the hygiene/sustainability efforts around the packaging itself,” a representative from Streetbees wrote in an email to Food Industry Executive.

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