Food manufacturers incorporate fruits, vegetables and other nutrients into popular children’s foods and beverages.
The Kraft Heinz Co. is adding an extra layer of nutrition to its Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner with new varieties that include white beans and cauliflower in the pasta.
New Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner White Bean features white bean added to the pasta to deliver nine grams of protein per serving.
New Kraft Macaroni & Cheese Dinner with Cauliflower adds cauliflower to the pasta to provide ¼ cup of vegetables per serving. The cauliflower blended pasta comes in original and white cheddar varieties.
Perdue Farms announced on June 12 the launch of a line of frozen chicken products that are blended with vegetables. The Chicken Plus Nuggets, Tenders and Patties feature blends of cauliflower, chickpeas and plant protein making up a half serving of vegetables. The rest of the product is made up of white meat chicken that follows Perdue’s standards of 100% natural ingredients and no antibiotics ever.
“Perdue Chicken Nuggets have been a staple for families for years, but we wanted to provide an easy way to round out the meal and help parents put an end to the ‘eat your vegetables’ battle,” said Eric Christianson, chief marketing officer for Perdue. “By blending plants and vegetables with the Perdue chicken families love, not only are we helping to meet demands for millions of parents but we are appealing to the growing number of flexitarian families who have an increased commitment to getting more plants and vegetables in their families’ diets.”
The Chicken Plus nuggets are dinosaur-shaped to appeal to children. Perdue partnered with The Better Meat Co. to source some of the plant-based ingredients.
“Boosting meat with high-quality plant protein is a great way to give the consumer more choices while enhancing both sustainability and nutrition,” said Paul Shapiro, chief executive officer of The Better Meat Co.
Perdue Chicken Plus comes in a 22-oz bag and will be available nationwide in freezer aisles starting in September.
Organic dairy product manufacturer Stonyfield Organic is diving deeper into the dairy-free segment with new Fruit & Veggie Smoothie Pouches. The plant-based products are made with coconut cream and contain six simple ingredients each.
“Consumers are looking for more plant-based options, and dairy alternative products are on the rise with recent growth rates nearing 20%,” Stonyfield said. “According to a recent survey by Stonyfield Organic conducted with kids ages 5-11 and their parents, kids are most looking for snacks that taste great, while parents are most focused on snacks that are healthy. Stonyfield Organic Fruit & Veggie Smoothie Pouches keep both parents’ and kids’ needs in mind.”
Containing 50 to 70 calories per pouch, the smoothies contain no added sugar and are U.S.D.A. certified organic, Non-GMO Project verified and vegan. Varieties include Berry Cherry Blast, made with blueberries, cherries, apples and beets; Tropical Twist, made with mangos, bananas, pears and carrots; and Strawbana Smash, made with strawberries, bananas, pears and sweet potatoes.
“With Fruit & Veggie Smoothie Pouches, we’re able to offer not only a nutritious, portable, family-friendly snack, but also cater to different dietary needs and preferences,” said Natalie Levine, brand director for Stonyfield Organic at parent company The Lactalis Group. “We recognize what’s important to today’s families, and our new pouches really offer everything — taste, convenience, and plant-based — all in one delicious pouch.”
New Yum Actually ice cream is a frozen dessert made with a blend of ice cream, fruits and vegetables. Flavors include Creamy Honey Banana, Caramel Sweet Potato, Yummy Mango and Butternut Squash Butterscotch. The treats are packaged in portable 3-oz cups and sold in boxes of four.
“Kids eat too much sugar these days,” said Nicole Frankel, founder of Yum Actually. “It’s a known fact. When you look at the labels of other kids’ desserts sold in stores, the added sugar content is alarming. Because we use such flavorful fruits and veggies in our frozen desserts, we don’t need to add a lot. I just want to be able to offer a wholesome dessert option that parents can feel a little better about giving to their kids.”
Borden Dairy Co. is introducing its first 2% no-sugar-added milk geared toward children: Borden Kid Builder. Available in chocolate and strawberry flavors, the dairy drinks are fortified with vitamins A and D and made from cows not treated with rbST. Each 8-oz serving provides 13 grams of protein and 490 mg of calcium.
“Growing kids need protein, calcium, vitamins and minerals to build strong bodies and minds,” said Nick Suffredin, vice-president of research and development for Borden Dairy. “But getting them to eat enough of these key nutrients can be a challenge. Whether offering the energy they need for that fun playdate or providing a tasty after-school snack, Kid Builder, with no added sugar, is an excellent high-protein option.”
Borden Kid Builder beverages come in 52-oz multi-serve bottles and 12-oz single-serve bottles.
With back to school season in full swing, Kellogg Co. is bringing its Nutri-Grain brand to a new audience. The company’s new Nutri-Grain Kids soft-baked mini breakfast bars were designed for children, because “kids are the toughest food critics around,” Kellogg said.
“Kids eat what they like and won’t what they don’t,” Kellogg said. “Especially at lunch. When school lunch bags come home with items untouched, it means kids didn’t get food they liked or fuel they needed for the day. That’s why Kellogg’s Nutri-Grain is introducing Nutri-Grain Kids, the snack to pack because it provides nutrients kids need and a taste they’ll love.”
Packaged in boxes of single-serve 140-calorie pouches, Nutri-Grain Kids bite-size bars provide eight grams of whole grains per serving and feature filling made with fruit. Flavors include Awesome Apple, Strawberry Blast and Grapetastic. All varieties are free from artificial flavors and high-fructose corn syrup.
Harvest Hill Beverage Co. is expanding its Juicy Juice brand with three new lines: Fruitfuls Organic, Juicy Waters and Juicy Juice + Protein.
Juicy Juice Fruitfuls Organic contains a half cup of fruit in each 8-oz serving. Available in single-serve juice boxes and a multi-serve 59-oz bottle, the beverage comes in apple, fruit punch and grape flavors.
Juicy Juice + Protein provides 5 grams of protein per serving and is available in fruit punch and orange varieties.
Juicy Juice Juicy Waters are the first flavored water beverage from the brand and are made with filtered water and a splash of flavor. Containing no added sugars, the waters come in fruit punch, orange and strawberry watermelon flavors.
“The functional benefits found in Juicy Juice’s new innovations are important to help children start the new school year strong and balance all the activities that come with it,” said Mitzi Dulan, R.D., C.S.S.D. “With the new beverages, parents can feel good about pairing their kids’ lunches and snacks with Juicy Juice to keep them fueled during every back to school moment.”
Sun-Maid Growers of California is introducing Sour Raisin Snacks, featuring whole golden raisins enhanced with strawberry, watermelon, mixed berry and grape flavors. The snacks contain no added sugars and are Non-GMO Project verified.
“Our team has been working on repositioning products and broadening our product portfolio to meet the growing need for less processed, no-added-sugar snacking options,” said Harry Overly, president and chief executive officer of Sun-Maid. “Sour Raisin Snacks will compete with other fruit snacks and gummies in the category and give parents a healthier option that their kids will love and they will feel good about feeding them whether in school lunches or as a daytime bite.”
Sun-Maid Sour Raisin Snacks come in boxes of seven 20-gram pouches that contain 60 calories each.
Ocean Spray is launching a line of juice beverages for children that offer functional health benefits. New Growing Goodness drinks are made with fruit juice with no added sugars and are non-G.M.O.
Growing Goodness Immune Health contains vitamin C and zinc and is available in cranberry strawberry kiwi and cranberry cherry orange flavors.
Growing Goodness Digestive Health is filled with fiber and vitamin C and is available in cranberry apple peach and cranberry blueberry raspberry varieties.
Crystal Farms Dairy Co. is offering better-for-you snacks for children with its new Nibblers and Little Nibblers single-serve cheese snack packs. Available in mozzarella and marble jack, snacks feature packages of cheese diced in half-inch or quarter-inch cubes to provide age-appropriate bites.
“With one in five meals taking place outside the home, parents struggle to find snacks that are portable, convenient, nutritious and delicious,” said Katie Egan, director of marketing at Crystal Farms. “The solutions that currently exist are either loaded with sugar or lack nutritional value. Nibblers and Little Nibblers are natural, pre-portioned snacks that kids love to eat, while making their parents’ lives easier.”