Kids menus often feature the same standard set of child-friendly foods that appeal to young palates. However, kids menus are beginning to slowly shift, increasingly reflecting greater industry trends.
Healthful ingredients have been top of mind for many over the course of the pandemic. Some parents are turning to these more nutritious options for their children, as demonstrated by the growing popularity of ingredients such as cucumber and sweet potato fries on kids menus. This could also point to a trend of more mature offerings for children.
However, kids menus are not immune to the comfort food trend we have seen grow to new heights throughout the pandemic. Just as many parents turned to comforting foods to cope, kids still enjoy indulgence as well. Ketchup is the fastest-growing ingredient on kids menus, most often paired with classic child comfort foods such as burgers, chicken tenders and grilled cheese.
Quintessential comfort food fries are also on the rise, with seasoned fries steadily increasing on kids menus.
Pizza is another popular comfort food, especially over the course of the pandemic. This more indulgent food is faring well on kids menus, demonstrated by the growth of the classic topping pepperoni. The trending dichotomy of comfort vs. health has extended into kids menu territory, showing its overall industry prevalence.