The joint initiative “Kid Size Me” from the Nutrition & Health Foundation and the Restaurants Association of Ireland aims to ensure children have access to a wider variety of healthier food options when dining out.
By making child size portions of adult meals available in addition to the standard kids menu, participating restaurants will be able to give more value to their customers as well as tackle Ireland’s growing childhood obesity problem. Even with the economic downturn, the findings have shown that parents are still regularly bringing children out to eat and actively looking for the best value, which the Kid Size Me initiative will help restaurants to give them.
When a member signs up to the Kids Size Me initiative, they are issued with a list of guidelines to help them shape a menu which is extremely child-friendly. A restaurant can then send in their sample kids menu and will be issued with a certificate for the Kids Size Me initiative.
Reasons for restaurants to participate in this initiative have been garnered a 2013 report:
- 52% of parents surveyed brought children out to eat once a month and 18% brought them out every fortnight.
- 98% of parents want child size portions of adult meals to be available in restaurants
- 53% of children already eat from the adult menu, but this is shown to lead to overeating due to the large portions
- The top choice for children’s menus was “child size potions of adult meals” (88%)
- Value and portion size are intrinsically linked and this creates an opportunity to show parents the value available through children’s meals
- Child size portions of adult meals appeals to parents who want to feed their children healthier options while eating out
- Parents are more willing to eat out with children when restaurants offer them a good value
- 55% of parents spent €5-€7.50 on a child’s meal and 32% spent €7.51-€10, the majority believed this was worth the money
(Do you have a kids menu? Safe Food, November 2013)
With 1 in 4 nine year olds overweight or obese in Ireland, it is important that parents are given greater, healthier choices when they eat out with their children. By participating in the Nutrition & Health Foundation and Restaurants Association of Ireland’s initiative, “Kids Size Me,” restaurants have the opportunity to create additional value on their menu through child sized portions of the healthier adult meals. Based on the findings of the study, there is clearly a demand for what this initiative proposes as well as value for restaurants and their customers, parents and children alike.