Which Brands Are Best-Loved By Families?


No wonder Oreo is still going strong after 100 years: It’s the single-most-loved brand among American families, according to a comprehensive study of 215 leading children’s/family food and beverage brands from Norwalk, Conn.-based marketing and branding consultancy The Family Room.

And it’s also perhaps no wonder that McDonald’s has launched a major integrated campaign for its now-healthier Happy Meals: Perceptions of McDonald’s lag those of Subway on “family love,” taste, value and particularly health/nutrition, according to the Brand Compass consumer survey, which was fielded last August and recently completed.

The Family Room conducted an online survey of a geographically and ethnically representative sample of 4,320 moms and kids (ages 6 to 17, evenly distributed by age, gender). Moms’ and kids’ individual and combined perceptions of each brand were measured based on multiple components within four purchasing-influence factors: “family harmony,” “kid delight,” “convenience/value” and “health nutrition.” The data reveal the relative strength of each of these factors in the purchasing decision for a given brand.



Oreo ranks as “most-loved” because it shows by far the highest score among all 215 brands for “entire family likes,” one component within family harmony. Fully 92% of moms and 89% of kids agree that the entire family likes Oreos, for a combined average score of 90.6%. 

On the other two “family harmony” components -- “brings us together” and “helps mom feel good” -- Oreo’s average scores are 66% and 52%, respectively.

Within the “kid delight” factor (which has a 60% influence on purchases of the brand, versus 16% for family harmony, 14% for health/nutrition and 10% for convenience/value), 96% of moms and 87% of kids agree that “[the] child loves” Oreos. Further, 96% of moms and 94% of kids agree that Oreos “taste great,” and 90% of moms and 89% of kids agree that they “make the child happy.”

The study adds to the growing body of evidence showing that most family food and beverage purchasing decisions today are collaborative, that an item’s appeal to the whole family is increasingly important, and that kids are strongly influencing what the entire family eats, says George Carey, founder and CEO of The Family Room. Carey notes, however, that the influence of moms versus kids varies by specific brand/product. 

Top Foods/Beverages Most-Loved By Families 

Ranked by “entire family likes” scores, across all food brands studied, Oreo is followed by Nestle Toll House Morsels (88%), Drumstick (87%), Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls (87%), Ritz (86%), Tropicana (86%), Hershey’s Chocolate (86%), Baskin-Robbins (86%), Cheetos (86%) and Pillsbury Refrigerated Cookie Dough (85%).

Across all beverage brands studied, the leaders for the same factor are Tropicana (average moms/kids score of 86.3%), Nestle Pure Life (78.7%), Dannon Spring Water (78.2%), Minute Maid (76.5%), Mott’s Apple Juice (74%), Nesquik (73.3%), Dasani (72.4%), Aquafina (71.9%), Gatorade (66.4%) and Juicy Juice (65.5%).

Within specific food categories, Eggo Waffles scored highest (77%) on “whole family likes” among breakfast brands surveyed; Heinz Ketchup scored highest (83%) among lunch brands; and Kraft scored highest (89%) among dinner brands. 

How Subway and McDonald’s Compared

Among the 11 restaurant brands studied, Subway came out on top on the “entire family likes” factor, with 86% of moms and 81% of kids (combined average of 83%) agreeing. 

Subway’s average moms/kids scores were 87% on “tastes great,” 82% on “child loves” and 78% on “makes child happy.” Within the health/nutrition factor, Subway’s average scores were 79% on “healthy balance in diet,” 80% on “establishes good habits,” and 77% on “reinforces good habits.” Within the convenience/value factor, its average scores were 84% on “quick/easy to prepare,” 85% on “consume on the go,” and 72% on “good value.”

In comparison, McDonald’s scores on “entire family likes” were 69% for moms and 74% for kids (71% combined average). 

McDonald’s’ average scores were 74% on “tastes great,” 83% on “child loves” and 82% on “makes child happy.” Within the health/nutrition factor, its average scores were 31% on “healthy balance in diet,” 27% on “establishes good habits,” and 24% on “reinforces good habits.” Within the convenience/value factor, its average scores were 85% on “quick/easy to prepare,” 85% on “consume on the go,” and 65% on “good value."

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