Teens Say Ditch the Dinner Table. Snacking is the New Conversation-Starter.

Teens Say Ditch the Dinner Table. Snacking is the New Conversation-Starter.

Teens Prefer Connecting with Parents During Casual Snack-Time, Opening New Marketing Opportunities

The most important priority for mom is her relationship with her child, yet the reality is time spent together diminishes in the teen years.  The family dinner in particular comes under pressure with teen’s schedules: extracurriculars, jobs, and long days at school.  All of this means it may not be possible for parents to connect with their teen at dinner.

Teens we’ve spoken with have suggested a different route to connection. Instead of the family dinner, share a snack.  Teens like the informality of the snacking occasion, and feel more inclined to open up and share with their parents than at the dinner table.  Cori, Sarah, Connor, Tabitha and Kevin all talk about how snack time is a good time to share.

 “I feel like snack time after school is when I can fill my mom in on my day in a relaxed atmosphere where her questions don’t feel like an interrogation (most of the time) and we can both just chill” - Cori

 “Snack time together really just gives us a reason to talk.  When you snack it puts something there to focus indirectly on while still having that bonding time.” -Sarah

 “The Cheetos Talk. I sometimes talk with my mom about my day as I snack on what she made. I also sometimes just thank her and plop down on the couch.” - Connor

“A sense of connection while snacking.  We sit there eating and talking about our days and sharing stories. I even connect with my little brother who often offers to give me the last piece of food when we are sharing.” - Tabitha

 “Late afternoon.  I was pretty hungry, so it was a relief to get some food in my stomach.  My dad was the one who put the snack out, and my mother and I were conversing about school and other things.“ - Kevin

The two most popular times that teens snack during the week at home are between 5-7pm and 7-11pm.

Teens Say Ditch the Dinner Table. Snacking is the New Conversation-Starter.

They may be taking a break, doing their homework (or taking a homework break), or watching TV.

Teens Say Ditch the Dinner Table. Snacking is the New Conversation-Starter.

According to research from the Marketing to Moms Coalition teens are likely to request specific brands of food snacks, as well as sports and soft drinks.

Teens Say Ditch the Dinner Table. Snacking is the New Conversation-Starter.

Sitting down to a healthy, delicious family meal during the week is desirable, but often doesn’t fit with the weekday time demands faced by many teens and their parents.  Maybe teens have it right, and snacking is a better time to connect. These research insights suggest marketing opportunities related to snacking, specifically to teens and their parents. Be on the lookout for strategies and marketing executions seeking to connect with parents and teens.

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    Michal Clements

    Michal is co-author of Tuning Into Mom and an experienced consultant. Michal develops winning growth strategies and detailed go to market plans for some of the world’s outstanding organizations including McDonald’s, Gatorade, Abbott, Barilla, Tylenol, Clorox, Key Bank, Eagle Ottawa, Quaker and the Baker Demonstration School.

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