Advertisement

Observations of Parent-Child Co-Shoppers in Supermarkets: Children’s Involvement in Food Selections, Parental Yielding, and Refusal Strategies

      Abstract

      The study aimed to collect descriptive information on the decision-making processes of adult shoppers around food purchases when young children are present. Anthropological field observations were conducted on adult-child grocery shoppers. Eleven supermarkets in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metropolitan region. A convenience sample (n = 142) of adult-child shoppers at 8 budget and 3 deluxe supermarkets located in diverse urban and suburban areas. Observations registered adult-child interactions over food selections, including parental yielding or refusal strategies and child engagement in shopping. Means and frequencies were calculated for food items considered. In 67 (50.4%) of the total 133 observations, a child initiated a request. Half (55.2%) of the requests were for sweets or snacks. Nearly half (47.8%) of adults yielded to the child’s request. Brands and marketing techniques appeared to be a factor in 28.6% of selections. The most frequent adult refusals either provided an explanation or ignored the request. Adults yield to children’s requests for sweets and snacks nearly as often as they refuse them. However, effective refusal strategies are used by many adults. Opportunities exist in the grocery store for adults to reinforce young children’s interest in food and nutrition.

      Key Words

      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access

      SNEB Member Login

      SNEB Members, full access to the journal is a member benefit. Login via the SNEB Website to access all journal content and features.

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

        • Ogden C.
        • Flegal K.M.
        • Carroll M.D.
        • Johnson C.
        Prevalence and trends in overweight among U.S. children and adolescents, 1999-2000.
        JAMA. 2002; 288: 1728-1732
        • Ebbeling C.
        • Pawlak D.
        • Ludwig D.
        Childhood obesity.
        Lancet. 2000; 10: 473
        • Story M.
        • Neumark-Sztainer D.
        • French S.
        Individual and environmental influences on adolescent eating behaviors.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 2002; 102: 40-51
        • Coon K.A.
        • Tucker K.L.
        Television and children’s consumption patterns.
        Minerva Pediatr. 2000; 54: 423-436
        • Gamble M.
        • Cotugna N.
        A quarter century of TV food advertising targeted at children.
        Am J Health Behav. 1999; 23: 261-267
        • McNeal J.U.
        Kids as Customers. Lexington Books, New York1992
        • Strasburger V.C.
        Children and TV advertising.
        J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2001; 22: 185-187
        • Kotz K.
        • Story M.
        Food Advertisements during children’s Saturday morning television programming.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 1994; 94: 1296-1300
      1. Economic Research Service. USDA Web site. Harris JM, Kaufman P, Martinez S, Price C. US Food Marketing System, 2002. Available at: http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/aer811. Accessed January 22, 2006.

        • Goldberg M.
        • Gorn G.J.
        • Gibson G.
        TV Messages for snack and breakfast foods.
        J Consum Res. 1976; 5: 73-81
        • Borzekowski D.L.G.
        • Robinson T.N.
        The 30-second effect.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 2001; 101: 42-46
        • Birch L.
        • Fisher J.
        Eating behaviors among children and adolescents.
        Pediatrics. 1998; 101: 539-549
        • Skinner J.
        • Carruth B.R.
        • Moran III, J.
        • et al.
        Toddlers’ food preferences.
        J Nutr Educ. 1998; 30: 17-22
        • Wardle J.
        • Herrera M.L.
        • Cooke L.
        • Gibson E.L.
        Modifying children’s food preferences.
        Eur J Clin Nutr. 2003; 57: 341-348
        • Nicklas T.A.
        • Baranowski T.
        • Baranowski T.J.C.
        • Cullen K.
        • Rittenberry L.
        • Olvera N.
        Family and child-care provider influences on preschool children’s fruit, juice and vegetable consumption.
        Nutr Rev. 1999; 59: 224-235
        • Hill A.J.
        Developmental issues in attitudes to food and diet.
        Proc Nutr Soc. 2000; 61: 259-266
        • Galst J.P.
        • White M.A.
        The unhealthy persuader.
        Child Dev. 1976; 47: 1089-1096
        • Atkin C.
        Observation of parent-child interaction in supermarket decision-making.
        J Mark. 1978; 42: 41-45
        • Isler L.
        • Popper E.T.
        • Ward S.
        Children’s purchase requests and parental responses.
        J Advert Res. 1987; : 28-39
        • Rust L.
        Observations of parents and children shopping together.
        J Advert Res. 1993; (July/August): 65-70
        • Manchanda R.V.
        • Moore-Shay E.
        Mom, I want that!.
        American Marketing Association. 1994; (Winter): 81-90
        • Carruth B.R.
        • Skinner J.D.
        • Moran J.D.
        • Coletta C.
        Preschoolers’ food product choices at a simulated point of purchase and mothers’ consumer practices.
        J Nutr Educ. 2000; 32: 146-151
        • Carlson L.
        • Grossbart S.
        Parental style and consumer socialization of children.
        J Consum Res. 1988; 15: 77-94
        • Hofferf S.L.
        • Sandberg J.F.
        Changes in American children’s time, 1981-1887.
        in: Hofferth S.L. Owens T.J. Children at the Millenium. Vol. 6. JAI Publications, Amsterdam2001: 193-229
        • John D.R.
        Consumer socialization of children.
        J Consum Res. 1999; 26: 183-213
        • Jeffery R.W.
        • Utter J.
        The changing environment and population obesity in the United States.
        Obes Res. 2003; 11: 12s-22s
      2. Fact Sheets. US Census Bureau Web site. Census 2000 Demographic Profile Highlights for St Paul city, Minnesota, Minneapolis city, Minnesota, and Woodbury city, Minnesota. Available at: http://factfinder.census.gov. Accessed January 22, 2006.

        • Bernard H.R.
        Research Methods in Anthropology Qualitative and Quantitative Methods. 2nd edition. Altamira Press, Walnut Creek, CA1995
        • Miles M.B.
        • Huberman A.M.
        Qualitative Data Analysis. Sage Publications, Beverly Hills, CA1984
        • Harnack L.J.
        • Stang J.
        • Story M.
        The soft drink consumption among U.S. children and adolescents.
        J Am Dietetic Assoc. 1999; 99: 436-441
        • Ludwig D.
        • Peterson K.E.
        • Gortmaker S.L.
        Relation between consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks and childhood obesity.
        Lancet. 2001; 357: 505-508
        • Nicklas T.
        • Johnson R.
        Position of the American Dietetic Association.
        J Am Diet Assoc. 2004; 104: 660-677
        • Benton D.
        Role of parents in the determination of the food preferences of children and the development of obesity.
        Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord. 2004; 28: 858-869
        • Westenhoefer J.
        Establishing good dietary habits—capturing the minds of children.
        Public Health Nutr. 2001; 4: 125-129
        • Koivisto H.
        Factors influencing children’s food choice.
        Ann Med. 2001; 31: 26-32
      3. USDA/FNS newsletter. Nibbles for health: family food shopping: spend less, get more. Available at http://www.fns.usda.gov/tn/resources/Nibbles/family-shop.pdf/. Accessed January 22, 2006.

      4. USDA/FNS newsletter. Supermarket Sleuths. Available at: www.fns.usda.gov/tn/Parents/sleuth.html. Accessed January 22, 2006.