Nearly 40 percent of parents say their kids are foodies

01 February, 2017 by
Danielle Bowling

New research from OpenTable shows that young Australians are looking beyond the kids’ menu when eating out, with wagyu beef and lobster amongst their favourite choices.

The Gourmet Kids research was commissioned by OpenTable and conducted by Galaxy Research in October 2016. A sample size of 1,265 respondents was surveyed across Australia.

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The report revealed that over one-third (39 percent) of parents consider their children to be ‘foodies’, and nearly one in three (30 percent) admit their children favour fine dining over fast food.

Three-quarters of Australian mums and dads (75 percent) said that when dining out, their kids prefer to order from the adult menu rather than the specific children’s menu. The research also showed the average Australian child has dined at a hatted restaurant at least twice in their life.

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Lisa Hasen, vice president of OpenTable, APAC, said “Australians are known for being daring when it comes to their dining choices so it’s no surprise that our youngsters are too. As a nation home to such a vibrant food scene, it’s exciting to see children are so engaged with emerging food trends and open to taste testing multicultural flavours.”

Nearly one in five (18 percent) parents are eating out at a restaurant with their children at least once a week, and Three in four (74 percent) say their children eat out more than they did growing up.

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Twenty-five percent of parents are willing to spend over $26 on a meal for their child and while many parents plan to stop paying for their children’s meals once they turn 18, more than one-third (35 percent) say they will always shout their children to a meal out.

Sushi is the most popular preference among Australian children (49 percent), taking out the top spot in each of the surveyed locales.

The 10 most popular dishes, foods and drinks amongst Australian children are:

  1. Sushi (49 percent)
  2. Macaroons (38 percent)
  3. Smashed eggs on toast (38 percent)
  4. Coconut water (30 percent)
  5. Scallops (29 percent)
  6. Veal (27 percent)
  7. Crme brle (26 percent)
  8. Wagyu beef (25 percent)
  9. Almond milk (24 percent)
  10. Lobster (24 percent)

John Fink, creative director at Fink Group, which operates Quay, Bennelong and OTTO, amongst others, said “Every day we see more and more parents and their kids coming into our establishments for a family meal, many of whom are ordering dishes for their little ones from the adult menus. It’s fascinating to see mature palates from such a young age; across the board, our young diners are open to new delicacies and are becoming connoisseurs in their own right.”

State-based findings:

NSW/ACT

  •  Almost half (46 percent) of NSW parents consider their children to be foodies
  • NSW children are leading the pack when it comes to fine dining, with one-third of NSW children (33 percent) preferring fine dining over fast food
  • Almost half (49 percent) of NSW children have dined at a hatted restaurant at least once
  • Dining out is a family affair in NSW – 40 percent of NSW parents dine out with their children three or more times per month
  • NSW parents are generous when it comes to paying for their children’s meals with 39 percent happy to shout them, no matter their age
  • The top three dishes for children in NSW/ACT are sushi (49 percent), smashed eggs on toast (42 percent) and macaroons (41 percent)

VIC/TAS

  • Almost two-fifths (37 percent) of parents in VIC and TAS consider their children to be foodies
  • More than half (53 percent) of children in VIC/TAS have dined at a hatted restaurant at least once
  • Dining out is a family affair in VIC/TAS – almost two-fifths (38 percent) of VIC/TAS parents dine out with their children three or more times per month
  • One-third (33 percent) of VIC/TAS parents say they will always pay for their children’s meals, regardless of their age
  • Top three dishes for children in VIC and TAS are sushi (44 percent), macaroons (33 percent) and smashed eggs on toast (30 percent)

QLD

  • Almost two-fifths (37 percent) of QLD parents consider their children to be foodies
  • Forty-six percent of QLD children have dined at a hatted restaurant at least once
  • One-quarter (25 percent) of QLD parents say they will always pay for their children’s meals
  • Top three dishes for children in QLD are sushi (52 percent), smashed eggs (36 percent) and macaroons (33 percent)

SA

  • More than one-third (36 percent) of SA parents consider their children to be foodies
  • More than one-third (35 percent) of SA children have dined at a hatted restaurant at least once
  • Over one-third (35 percent) of SA parents say they will always pay for their children’s meals
  • Top three dishes for children in SA are sushi (49 percent), smashed eggs on toast (47 percent) and macaroons (43 percent). These dishes were closely followed by veal (34 percent) and kangaroo (34 percent)

WA

  • Almost one in four (24 percent) WA parents consider their children to be foodies
  • More than two in five (45 percent) WA children have dined at a hatted restaurant at least once
  • Almost one-third (30 percent) of WA kids dine out with their parents three or more times a month but it is a special occasion for most, with 42 percent dining out with their parents just once each month
  • When it comes to shouting their kids a feed, WA parents are the most generous – 43 percent say they will always pay for their children’s meals when they dine out
  • Top four dishes for children in WA are sushi (54 percent), macaroons (46 percent), wagyu beef (41 percent) and smashed eggs on toast (41 percent)