Food is one of Mom’s most important areas of concern for her child, and as her children become teens, it becomes a joint effort to find the right nutrition that the teen also enjoys eating. Marketing strategies surrounding food should recognize that Mom and teen both play a role—and often team up to discover and purchase food brands.
Renee Flesch of The Food Group highlights Muscle Milk as a trend in teen nutrition right now. The protein drink promotes exercise recovery and muscle growth for teen athletes and is available as a powder or ready-to-drink formula. She says,
“The boys see this as recovery, post-exercise and believe it’s good for them. They like to make the shakes, because they want to throw in the texture and make it their own. It’s so easy. They just throw the Muscle Milk in the blender and add milk.”
Teen boys are learning about the Muscle Milk brand from peers and advertising—especially in sports magazines. Teens team up with Mom to locate the product, as it can be expensive. Renee finds buying in bulk at Costco or GNC makes the most sense for her family.
At times, teen weight concerns are also addressed by Mom. We see that Mom influences her child’s eating habits by providing good choices—even when she’s not available to prepare the meal herself. Marly’s story about her teen son illustrated this involvement:
“He’s 6’4” tall, and he weighed 225 pounds. He was playing both junior varsity and varsity football with two games a week. There were issues, and one of the seniors said to him, ‘If you weren’t so slow and fat we would have won.’ So he went on a starvation diet and got down to 190 pounds. Since then, he has stabilized and wants to gain weight for football in a healthy way. He reads labels, and it it’s more than 100 calories from fat, he won’t touch it. So I have to be more creative with my cooking because healthy food is more expensive. He won’t even eat baked fries now. He loves paninis. Target had a panini maker on sale, and I bought it for him. I bake the chicken, and he makes his own sandwiches with the panini maker using the chicken. During the summer when I’m at work during the day, he uses his panini maker each day.”
As Mom and teen become partners in the teen’s nutrition, marketing opportunities arise to recognize this relationship. For instance, an organization might sponsor a mom and teen cooking contest. This spring, Uncle Ben’s started down this path with their “Let’s Get Kids Cooking!” Contest, which was open to parents and children ages 5-12. While the goal of this contest was to introduce children to cooking, a teen-based contest could be more interactive, with teens and moms teaching each other and collaborating. When brands recognize the marketing potential inherent in Millennials’ close relationships with their parents, we’ll be sure to see some amazing new marketing strategies and campaigns.