Mrs Tinks Meals for Kids

The new range of Mrs Tinks meals for big kids is delicious, but there’s something different about it. It’s funny (and we don’t mean funny tasting, we mean funny ha ha), according to the mini taste testers recruited to trial the products and the packaging before it launched in Ocado earlier this month. You can try Mrs Tinks’ new range for yourself – contact Helen@foodanddrinktowers.co.uk and we’ll organise for some samples to head your way during the half term holiday!

Julia Boddy, founder of Tinks Food (http://www.tinksfood.com), has catered for busy parents and their kids for the past four years, in and around her East Dulwich home. After building up a loyal following, Ocado jumped on the chance to list the range and introduce it to a national audience. As well as liking the idea of tapping into a new sub-category within children’s ready meals (one meal is great for two under 7s or one big kid/busy parent), Ocado loved the brightly coloured, stand-out packaging packed with funny food facts and other items to keep the kids entertained while their food is cooking.
Big Kids: Funny Things That Get Them Eating
A parent’s cry for help!
Recently, during a focus group of local London Mums, one lady confided in us that meal times were the most stressful part of her day – cooking for a bigger child who has discovered his/her ‘voice’ in the kitchen isn’t the way most parents pictured it is it? Concerns about whether your child is getting his/her five-a-day can be pushed aside for concerns about whether your child is actually going to eat anything at all!

60% of parents think that funny facts might be the answer
We have spent the last few months researching family meal times at home, from cheese spread sarnies in the car on the way to after-school dance clubs, to elaborate family dinners on the weekend. Part of this research involved an independent online survey. We’re finalising the results at the moment and you’ll be the first to know!

The Big Kids survey, carried out by Mrs Tinks, explores what parents feel would improve their chances of harmony and enthusiastic eating in the kitchen and at mealtimes. More than 85% of them cited ‘funny facts about food’ or ‘interesting food packaging’ as a way of getting their big kids to enjoy and take an interest in the food they eat.

A new brand for big kids takes the initiative
The new Mrs Tinks range takes the first step towards helping parents spout pearls of wisdom (in a funny way) about the food they might cook their kids for tea. Each Mrs Tinks meal reveals a silly but true fact about one of the vegetables in the meal. Did you know, for example, that potatoes were the first vegetable grown in space? Or that the largest ‘coconut orchestra’ involved 5,877 people in Trafalgar Square in 2007? A record that still stands! Or, that during the 19th century it was common practice to throw rotten tomatoes at bad actors?

The key to a big kid’s heart
Why do we know that this kind of fact will intrigue and engage the growing minds of seven to 11 year olds? It is probably because we know that although they amuse us with their startling understanding of complex processes such as photosynthesis, they are still, at heart, silly. Kids love silly things; they delight in learning – AS LONG AS IT’S FUN – and they don’t really care where it comes from – a TV programme, a funny uncle, a friend, Mum or Dad, or food packaging.

Learning and engaging ‘without noticing’
Take the successful, frequently dubbed ‘genius’, programme that is Horrible Histories. Has there ever been a generation so well versed in the toilet habits, penal systems and marital dos and don’ts of the Victorians? How many of us can recite all the names of Henry VIII’s wives and exactly how they met their bloody ends? This generation can and they hardly notice that they are taking on board key historical facts and events at the same time.

So it makes sense that if we can make food ‘fun’ in these habit-forming years, when it comes to food they will be productive not ‘reductive’ in terms of their choices and tastes, as they develop.

Cooking with kids is great but not realistic every night
The Mrs Tinks Big Kids survey shows a majority vote (75%) for ‘including them in the making of the meal’ as a way to get kids interested in food. It’s not likely though that this approach is practical at every mealtime. Let’s face it; making a meal WITH them takes work in itself. There has to be other practical ways to bring peace and healthy appetites to mealtimes.

‘Try Google’
Some parents told us: ‘Try Google’. If you are cooking something with carrots in it type ‘funny facts about carrots’ into Auntie Google and discover an array of stories about carrots, both historical and contemporary. Equally, other parents challenge their I.T. literate big kids to bring five interesting things about one of the key ingredients of a meal to the table with them – it makes for interesting conversation and, you guessed it, they hardly notice that they are scoffing said ingredients!