NPD advises companies, “By understanding who controls the meal… you can more effectively target your audience.”

According to a study conducted last year by Viacom’s Nickelodeon, kids pick what to eat 85% of the time at fast-food visits. (Maybe that’s why those apple slices haven’t been selling like, well, hotcakes infused with syrup and wrapped around eggs, cheese, and a sausage patty.)

Food manufacturers seem to have gotten the message: Market research firm Packaged Facts says in a new report that it expects breakfast versions of “popular indulgent” dessert items like cookies and pies in flavors like chocolate to become more popular. Breakfast cookies are obviously a kid-friendly concept, but these new versions also aim to please parents with better nutritional content.

It’s not just food choices that kids are dictating — or at least voting on. “Decision-making within families today is almost entirely collaborative – and as kids become more influential, they’re impacting purchasing decisions,” Christian Kurz, vice president of research at Viacom International Media Networks wrote on Viacom’s blog last year after Nickelodeon conducted its study. Kids also help pick clothes, shoes, and where their families go on vacation.