Wednesday, 19 September 2007

News from Nick Jr


New research carried out by Nick Jr, the popular digital preschool TV channel, shows that despite their reputations as fussy little eaters, British kids are in fact incredibly adventurous in their tastes, with parents claiming that by the age of five, children have tried everything from Chinese to Spanish and even Sushi.

The Nick Jr. study, which questioned over 1,000 parents found that whilst sausage, egg and chips might have been good enough for tea in their day, today’s mums and dads are passing on their love of international cuisines to their offspring. The reign of chicken tikka masala as our national dish looks set to continue, with 45% of children sampling Indian food. It also appears that the influence of Spain and France as top family holiday destinations extends to eating habits, a quarter of under fives have tried Spanish fare and over one in five have tasted French cuisine.

A clear regional divide is evident in the popularity of certain cuisines, with Scots leading the way on Chinese food - a huge 70% of Scottish under fives have eaten this Asian favourite, well above the national average of 58% and making it the most popular choice. Welsh respondents embrace Italian fare with 69% opting for this kid friendly food and perhaps unsurprisingly given the wealth of balti houses in the area, Midlands under fives are the biggest fans of Indian food with over half trying a curry.

The report also revealed just how much tastes have changed over the years, with parents aged 16-24 five times more likely to feed their little ones Mexican fahitas or Thai dishes than parents aged 55 plus, ensuring these cuisines are the fastest growing food choices in the UK today.

Bottom of the table is Sushi with an average of 3%, indicating that no matter how fashionable a cuisine might be amongst parents, kids are rarely tempted by the offer of raw fish.

With one in five parents claiming their kids haven’t tried any of the cuisines listed, there are still clearly some traditional ‘meat and two veg’ fans out there, particularly in Yorkshire where a quarter of parents surveyed claim their little ones stick to British fare.

Siobhan Freegard, founder of comments on the study findings: ‘The results of this survey prove that today’s parents are doing a great job of introducing their kids to international flavours at a young age and encouraging them to be adventurous with their food choices. We all know it’s important for families to eat together and if they can find a cuisine everyone loves this can make mealtimes a whole lot easier for mums and fun for all concerned.’

Notes to editors

The research for Nick Jr. was carried out by between 15.06.07 and 25.06.07 amongst a nationally representative sample of 1295/836 parents UK adults aged 16+

Nick Jr. is available on Sky 618, Virgin TV 715 and Tiscali TV