According to a presentation by Chicago-based Mintel at this year’s Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Annual Meeting & Food Expo, 89 percent of U.S. parents say they are likely to purchase breakfast foods that their children ask for, and about 40 percent say they will buy a treat for their kids if they ask for it.

Although parents are willing to acquiesce to their children’s requests, they also note the importance of promoting a healthy lifestyle. In the market research firm’s “Healthy Nutrition for Kids” presentation, promoting healthy eating was the top item parents agreed with in a U.S. survey titled “The Importance of Promoting Health for Children.” The next item was developing children’s abilities to make healthy eating choices followed by keeping children active.

Although U.S. consumers expressed some of their concerns about getting children of various age groups to consume fruits and vegetables in the Mintel presentation, the market research firm highlighted some foods and beverages that are bridging that gap, including Odwalla’s Smoothies for Kids, which launched earlier this year.  Each 6.75-ounce container has one serving of fruit and no added sugar, according to The Coca-Cola Co. subsidiary. The packaging also displays the logo to demonstrate Odwalla’s support of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

Whether it’s in support of or in collaboration with health-related associations, more beverage manufacturers are finding ways to promote healthy beverage alternatives.

In this month’s Up Close With feature (page 33) on Wat-aah, Founder and Chief Executive Officer Rose Cameron explains her inspiration to develop the bottled water lineup for the children’s beverage space. Wat-aah also has shown its involvement in spreading awareness about healthy living with its involvement in the Let’s Move! Flash Workout initiative, a part of the Let’s Move! campaign developed by First Lady Michelle Obama to solve the epidemic of childhood obesity within a generation. Wat-aah has been a sponsor of the campaign for the last two years.

But healthy choices aren’t just reserved for what takes place in the home. This month’s Channel Strategies article (page 34) highlights the new guidelines for the school meal program by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The first alterations to the guidelines in more than 15 years, the standards will impact both the food and beverage space.

With these new standards in the school environment, it will allow for more innovative products to come to fruition. For instance, Jamba Juice Co. announced at the School Nutrition Association conference that it will offer a new smoothie beverage option to meet the guidelines.

Ingredient company Cargill also presented at IFT “Childhood Nutrition: Understanding the Changing Policies, Regulations and Recommendations,” which highlighted the many nutrition policies and programs, and emphasized its commitment to help manufacturers address those healthier options.

 Many reference how children are our future; it looks like they also are the inspiration for healthy innovations.