Innovation in the category includes offerings with less sugar, more protein and more vegetables.
LesserEvil Healthy Brands, LLC is expanding into the children’s segment with the launch of Lil’ Puffs grain-free chewable snacks for children 12 months and older. Made from upcycled watermelon and pumpkin seeds with coconut oil, the snacks contain no sugar and are USDA certified organic, vegan, Non-GMO Project verified and gluten-free. Lil’ Puffs come in four varieties: veggie blend, sweet potato apple, non-dairy cheddar and strawberry beet.
“One vision has always been to offer healthy, less processed, earth-friendly snacks that can be accessible to everyone. Now everyone finally includes toddlers,” said Charles Coristine, president and chief executive officer of LesserEvil. “Over years of success in building our grain-free puffed snacks portfolio, we’ve always thought the toddler set would make for fertile ground for our innovation, especially as a brand that espouses the benefits of better oils vis-à-vis vegetable oils. It’s finally time to make it happen. Whether it’s a new year or an entirely new category for us at LesserEvil, we’re always thinking about how to take what we do well — sourcing clean, sustainable ingredients to make delicious, flavor-forward snacks — and broaden our horizons, always with the planet and the consumer top of mind.”
LesserEvil Lil’Puffs will be available at Whole Foods Market stores nationwide starting mid-February for $3.49 per 2.5-oz bag.
Ripple Foods is rolling out a new 100% vegan milk alternatives for children: Ripple Plant-Based Kids Milk. Developed with pediatricians, the beverage is designed for children ages one to five years old and contains DHA omega-3s, choline, prebiotic fiber and vitamins A, D, and B12. The milk alternative is made with yellow peas, contains 8 grams of protein per serving and contains less than 1/2 the sugar of dairy milk and 50% more calcium than 2% dairy milk, according to the company.
In January, General Mills, Inc. teamed up with Sesame Workshop to introduce Sesame Street Cereal.
Featuring lightly sweetened whole grain corn pieces, the cereal comes in two varieties and is formulated with fiber, calcium, vitamin D and vitamin E. Each 1-cup serving contains 140 calories, 2 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber and 8 grams of sugar.
The C is for Cinnamon variety, which features Cookie Monster and Elmo on the box, includes cinnamon flavored cereal pieces in A-Z letter shapes.
The 1 2 3 Berry cereal features Elmo and Abby Cadabby on the box and includes berry flavored cereal pieces in 0-9 number shapes.
“We are thrilled to team up with Sesame Street to launch cereals with key nutrients, delicious flavors and playful learning opportunities to make breakfast that much more meaningful for parents and kids alike,” said Hillary Balma, senior brand manager for General Mills. “We know that breakfast can be challenging for parents who are struggling to find foods that offer both the nutrition and the fun flavors kids want.”
The Sesame Street Cereal boxes offer games and six dual-language (English and Spanish) story books on the back, including Elmo Visits the Farm, Elmo’s Day at School, On the Go with Elmo, Elmo’s Big Day Out and others.
“Sesame Workshop’s mission is to help kids grow smarter, stronger, and kinder, and that means nourishing the mind and body,” said Gabriela Arenas, vice president of licensing, North America, for Sesame Workshop. “Breakfast gives kids the boost they need to grow, play, and learn each day. We’re pleased to team up with General Mills to give families a nutritious meal choice and an opportunity to start the morning with their favorite Sesame Street friends.”
Danone North America in December 2020 introduced a plant-based yogurt alternative for children.
Fortified with calcium and vitamin D, Silk Kids Almondmilk Yogurt Alternative is made with almond milk, fava bean protein, live and active cultures and organic coconut oil. The product is colored with fruit and vegetable juice and sweetened with cane sugar.
Silk Kids Almondmilk Yogurt Alternative contains 25% less sugar per oz than average flavored yogurt alternatives, Danone said. The offering is dairy-free, peanut-free, gluten-free, lactose-free and Non-GMO Project verified and comes in three flavors: apple cinnamon, strawberry and mixed berry, which includes blueberries and raspberries.
The yogurt alternatives contain 110 to 120 calories, 4 grams of protein and 7 grams of sugar per 4-oz cup.
“This is a crucial time for parents across the country, and Danone North America has convened an important conversation with industry experts to discuss the current challenges in children's nutrition due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lia Stierwalt, senior director of marketing for Silk Plant-Based Yogurt Alternatives. “We are happy to announce the launch of Silk Kids Almondmilk Yogurt Alternative as part of the solution, expanding our company's kid's portfolio and platform with a delicious plant-based option that kids love and parents can feel good about.”
Stonyfield Farm, Inc. partnered with Nature’s Path Organic Foods in December 2020 to introduce Stonyfield Organic Kids Yogurt with Nature’s Path EnviroKidz Cereal Toppers.
Providing 10 grams of protein per serving, the products are USDA certified organic, Non-GMO Project verified and available in two combinations: Strawberry Yogurt & Choco Chimps, and Vanilla Yogurt & Koala Crisp.
The Strawberry Yogurt & Choco Chimps cup features Stonyfield’s strawberry yogurt made with organic low-fat milk packaged with EnviroKidz Choco Chimps cereal, organic corn puffs coated in organic fair trade cocoa. Each 4-oz tub contains 130 calories, 10 grams of sugar and 2 grams of fat.
The Vanilla Yogurt & Koala Crisp cup includes Stonyfield’s vanilla yogurt made with organic low-fat milk packaged with EnviroKidz Koala Crisp cereal, featuring organic crispy rice puffs with a fair trade cocoa flavor. Each 4-oz tub contains 140 calories, 12 grams of sugar and 2.5 grams of fat.
“By teaming up with Nature’s Path to launch our new Stonyfield and EnviroKidz Toppers, we’re furthering our commitment to high-quality, organic ingredients and products that families can trust,” said Sophie Schmitt, Stonyfield Organic brand director. “As two pioneers in the organic space, Stonyfield and Nature’s Path are a natural fit — and the result is a delicious kids’ product that the whole family will love.”
Stonyfield Organic Kids Toppers are available at select Kroger, Safeway, HEB, Walmart and Whole Foods locations nationwide. The Kids Toppers are sold in a 4-pack format with a suggested retail price of $6.49.
Gerber Products Co., a subsidiary of Nestle SA, entered the frozen category in November 2020 with the launch of Freshful Start bowls and bites. Made with whole grains and vegetables, the USDA certified organic, clean label products are designed for toddlers 12 months and up and are ready to warm and serve in minutes.
“Families with busy schedules are looking for quick meal options for toddlers that provide the nutrition their growing bodies need,” said Erin Quann, RD, head of medical affairs at Gerber/Nestle Nutrition. “Parents can take comfort knowing Gerber organic Freshful Start bowls and bites are nutritious mealtime options for toddlers. Developed by Gerber's experts with toddlers’ nutrition needs in mind, Freshful Start continues Gerber's mission to provide key foods and nutrients that many young children fall short on, like calcium and iron. Nutritious mealtime options like these new bowls introduce young children to a variety of nutritious foods and beverages, helping establish healthy eating habits from the start.”
Freshful Start Organic Veggie & Grain Bowls provide one full serving of vegetables each and come in three varieties: tomato basil, mac and cheese, and Southwest style.
The tomato basil bowl contains whole wheat pasta, tomatoes, yellow bell peppers, zucchini, carrots, onions and kale. Each bowl contains 13 grams of whole grains, 2 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber and 10% daily value of iron.
The mac and cheese bowl includes whole wheat macaroni noodles, sweet potato puree, carrot puree, whole milk, broccoli and cheddar cheese. Each bowl contains 10 grams of whole grains, 4 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber and 10% daily value of calcium.
The Southwest style bowl features whole grain brown rice, tomatoes, green bell peppers, black beans, mango and onions. Each bowl contains 9 grams of whole grains, 3 grams of protein, 2 grams of fiber and 10% daily value of iron.
Gerber Freshful Start Organic Veggie Bites contain one full serving of vegetables per six pieces and come in two varieties: yellow carrot, kale, lentil and quinoa; and broccoli, lentils and cheddar.
The yellow carrot, kale, lentil and quinoa bites feature yellow carrots, potatoes, kale, lentils, red quinoa, whole wheat breadcrumbs and onions. The bites contain 10% daily value of iron, 5 grams of whole grains, 3 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber.
The broccoli, lentils and cheddar bites are made with broccoli, potatoes, lentils, red bell peppers, whole wheat breadcrumbs, onions and cheddar cheese. The bites contain 10% daily value of iron, 4 grams of whole grains, 4 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber.
“At Gerber, we're always aiming to meet parents where their needs are by providing great products that foster healthy eating habits,” said Catherine Cortes, brand manager at Gerber. “This is the first of what we hope will be many inventive frozen product offerings from Gerber. This is an exciting step in our innovation journey — entering a new area of the grocery store to bring parents nutrition at mealtime for toddlers with the same high quality and great taste parents expect from Gerber.”
Gerber Freshful Start Organic Veggie & Grain Bowls and Veggie Bites are available in select Target stores. The 4-oz bowls retail for $3.49, and the 8-oz bags of bites retail for $5.99.
Bimbo Bakeries USA joined forces with The Walt Disney Co. in October 2020 to debut Arnold, Brownberry and Oroweat branded Kids Organic White Bread featuring Mickey and Minnie Mouse on the packaging. The bread was “developed for picky eaters to love and parents to feel good about,” the company said.
Made with whole grain white wheat flour, the USDA certified organic and Non-GMO Project verified bread is baked using renewable wind energy. Each two-slice serving contains 150 calories and provides 4 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber and 15 grams of whole grains.
“The focus of this launch is bringing parents and children a nutritious bread with great taste and texture,” said Jessica Grane, marketing director of premium brands at Bimbo Bakeries USA, a subsidiary of Grupo Bimbo SAB de CV. “In teaming up with Disney, we have found a partner that aligns with our vision of delivering delicious and balanced nutrition, and we are proud to provide families with a bread that fits their wholesome lifestyles.”
Arnold, Brownberry and Oroweat Kids Organic White Bread is available nationwide for around $4 per 18-oz loaf.
Tolerant, a maker of organic, legume-based pasta and rice alternatives, launched a new line of single-ingredient pasta geared toward children in August 2020. Tolerant Kids’ new line of shaped pasta includes Organic Kids Chickpea Alphaland, Organic Kids Red Lentil Galaxy, and Organic Kids Green Lentil Safari. The pasta is made from organic lentils or chickpeas and is free of major allergens, vegan, gluten-free, non-GMO and kosher.
“We noticed that many packaged foods targeted at children are junky and lack nutrition,” said Niloo Mirani, director of marketing at Tolerant. “We wanted to change that, so we created a nutritious legume-based pasta that kids would love and parents would feel good about serving. Kids should be able to eat just as well as adults, so we are aiming to fill this unmet need.
“There’s nothing like our kids’ pasta line on the market. Our better-for-you pasta product just for kids is full of protein and fiber, free from major allergens and gluten-free, in fun shapes they’ll love. We are thrilled to launch this delicious, wholesome and convenient pasta for all the little foodies out there.”
Tolerant Kids is available online at Amazon.com and exclusively in-store at Whole Foods Markets. Each 8-oz box makes four child-sized servings and retails for $4.29.
Nestle’s Gerber brand expanded its organic snacks line in August 2020 with the introduction of Gerber Organic BabyPops, a new puffed corn and oat snack.
BabyPops come in a popcorn-like shape and are available in peanut, tomato and banana-raspberry flavors. Each variety contains peanuts, fruits and vegetables and no added sweeteners, GMOs or salt.
BabyPops peanut contains organic peanut flour and is the brand’s first product to offer peanut in a developmentally appropriate form to help parents introduce peanut into their child’s diet, Gerber said.
“Gerber recognizes the importance of having a peanut snack available as pediatric and nutrition experts, including the American Academy of Pediatrics, state there is now evidence in some infants that the early introduction of infant-safe forms of peanuts reduces the risk of peanut allergies,” said Joel Lim, MD, pediatric gastroenterologist and medical director at Gerber. “Of course, parents should always discuss the introduction of peanut and other food allergens with their doctor and follow their doctor's instructions.”
Along with helping parents navigate food allergen introduction, the snacks were designed to help children transitioning to finger foods.
“Gerber Organic BabyPops are designed to be fun for your little one to eat while self-feeding as they dissolve easily in their tiny mouths and are just the right size for little fingers learning to pick up,” said Sarah Smith-Simpson, principle scientist at Gerber. “While every child reaches this milestone at their own pace, this is usually around eight months or older when babies are in the crawler stage.”
The organic snacks come in travel-size, recyclable containers and are available nationwide.
In July 2020, Nestle’s Pure Life brand introduced Fruity Water, a line of beverages for children made with water, natural flavors and electrolytes.
Packaged in a 6.75-oz carton, the beverages are available in three flavors — apple, Tropical Twist and watermelon — and sold in packs of 8, 24 and 32.
“Parents not only want their kids to be healthy, but they also want them to be happy, which is why we’re excited to introduce a new flavored water designed specifically for kids that makes drinking water fun and more enjoyable,” said Yumi Clevenger-Lee, executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Nestle Waters North America.
The suggested retail price for a pack of 8 is $3.99 and $14.99 for a pack of 24.
Danone North America in July 2020 launched Super Danimals, a new low-fat yogurt that claims to support the immune system.
Formulated with billions of live and active probiotics plus vitamins C and D, Super Danimals contains 80 calories and 9 grams of sugar per 4-oz cup. The Non-GMO Project verified yogurt is available in blueberry, cherry vanilla and strawberry flavors.
“As the industry leader in children’s yogurt, we’re always innovating to meet the needs of parents and their families,” said Pedro Silveira, president of yogurt at Danone North America. “We know probiotics better than anyone, putting us in the unique position to launch an immune system-supporting yogurt just for kids.”
Danone developed Super Danimals after a year of consumer research and product development, which revealed parents’ prioritization of products that support their children’s immune systems, the company said.
“Based on our research, we know children’s health is always on parents’ minds, and families are exploring new ways to help support their children’s immune systems with the snacks they buy,” said Kristie Leigh, RD, senior manager of scientific affairs for Danone North America. “By regularly adding Super Danimals to a balanced diet and healthy lifestyle, parents can feel good about helping support their children’s immune systems with a tasty snack their kids love.”
Super Danimals is available nationwide for a suggested retail price of $3.99 per six-pack of 4-oz cups.
In July 2020, the Kraft Heinz Co. debuted Creative Roots, a new plant-based beverage made with natural ingredients and sweetened with stevia. The flavored coconut water beverages contain 15 calories and 1 gram of sugar per 8.5-oz serving and come in four flavors: watermelon lemonade, peach mango, orange pineapple and mixed berry.
“Today’s beverage market is saturated with products promoting great-tasting hydration for adults,” said Rachel Drof, marketing director of Creative Roots. “We identified a need to develop a better-for-you kids beverage with 1 gram of sugar and a taste kids will love. We’re proud to provide a beverage option that parents will want to serve to their kids.”
Gerber, a subsidiary of Nestle SA, in July 2020 introduced Organic Fruit Infused Water to provide toddlers with hydration. Made with 94% water, organic fruit puree and natural flavors, the beverages contain zero grams of sugar and zero calories per serving. The drinks are Non-GMO Project verified, certified USDA organic and come in strawberry and cherry flavors.
“There are no other products like Gerber Organic Fruit Infused Water in the baby aisle,” said Yanit Belachew, brand manager for Gerber. “At Gerber, we know it's important to provide ways for growing little ones to stay hydrated and establish healthy beverage habits early. We were inspired to add this innovative beverage to our product portfolio to provide parents with another tasty and convenient beverage option to include in their toddler's drink rotation.”
Protein beverage company Iconic Protein began catering to a new crowd in June 2020 with the launch of Iconic Kids protein drinks for children.
Featuring no sugar and one full serving of vegetables from organic kale, broccoli and spinach, the ready-to-drink beverages come in three flavors: Vanilla Vacay, Chocolate Carnival and Fruity Fiesta. The drinks contain grass-fed milk protein isolate and prebiotic chicory root fiber and are sweetened with stevia leaf and monk fruit. Each 8-oz serving provides 8 grams of protein, 4 grams of fiber and 80 calories.
“We always hear parents complaining that their kids have too much sugar, never eat their veggies and could use more protein for healthy growth,” said Billy Bosch, chief executive officer and founder of Iconic Protein. “We’re here to help solve the problem and make parents’ lives easier, creating a first of its kind drink packed with a full serving of organic green veggies, 8 grams of protein, and zero sugar. The flavors are out of this world tasty, too — Chocolate Carnival, Fruity Fiesta (literally tastes like the milk from fruity cereal), and Vanilla Vacay. These flavors will make your kids’ taste buds go wild.”
Iconic Kids beverages are available nationwide at stores including Whole Foods, Target, Safeway, Albertsons, Vons, CVS, Sprouts, HEB, Central Market, Wegmans, Jewel Osco and the Vitamin Shoppe. Single 8-oz cartons retail for $2.29 to $2.49, while 12-packs retail for $26.99 to $29.99.
The Kellogg Co.’s Kashi business built out its Kashi by Kids line in June 2020 with new Super Loops Cereal.
Available in chocolate and berry flavors, the cereals are made with superfood ingredients, including lentils, brown rice, berries and cocoa and provide 4 grams of protein per serving. Both varieties are certified USDA Organic and Non-GMO Project verified.
The chocolate cereal is made with whole grain yellow corn flour, whole oat flour, red lentil flour, brown rice flour, fair trade cocoa, pea protein, expeller pressed sunflower oil, cane sugar and natural flavors. Each 1-cup serving contains 140 calories, 9 grams of sugar and 3 grams of fiber.
The berry variety contains whole grain yellow corn flour, whole oat flour, red lentil flour, pea protein, expeller pressed sunflower oil, raspberry powder and strawberry powder. Sweetened with cane sugar and colored with carrots, radishes and red cabbage, the cereal contains 140 calories, 8 grams of sugar and 3 grams of fiber per 1-cup serving.
“With the new Kashi by Kids Super Loops launch, Kashi wants to support parents and provide them with delicious, high-quality food for their kids,” Kashi said. “Instead of using single grain flour, Kashi chose to use a blend of diverse superfood ingredients such as brown rice flour and red lentil flour. The ingredients also enhance the texture and flavors of the cereal, which are key concerns for kids and parents.”
Kashi by Kids Super Loops Cereal was created in a collaboration between Kashi and the Kashi Kids Crew, a group of Gen Z students ranging from 13 to 17 years old who are passionate about sustainability, food, health and the environment, Kashi said.
“I am an advocate for healthy foods and am passionate about helping kids my age find foods that taste awesome and keep us fueled throughout the day,” said Tabay Atkins IV, member of the Kashi Kids Crew. “Each member of the Kids Crew brings something different to the table, and it was so fun to create something that we can feel good about eating every day.”
The new cereals are available nationwide at Walmart, Amazon, Ahold, Jewel and Hannaford stores for around $3.68 per 9.5-oz box. The company plans to roll out the cereals to additional retailers this summer.
Kellogg Co.’s RXBAR business reformulated its RX Kids line in June 2020 to feature protein snack bars made with an oat base and 10 ingredients or fewer.
RX Kids Protein Snack Bars contain no added sugar, 5 grams of protein, and are made with egg whites, dates and whole grain gluten-free oats. The bars come in four flavors: chocolate chip, strawberry, double chocolate and peanut butter chocolate chip.
The chocolate chip bar includes dates, oats, egg whites, coconut oil, chocolate and natural flavors. The bar contains 140 calories, 10 grams of sugar and 2 grams of fiber.
The strawberry bar is made with dates, oats, egg whites, coconut oil, strawberries and natural flavors. The bar contains 130 calories, 10 grams of sugar and 2 grams of fiber.
The double chocolate bar contains dates, oats, egg whites, coconut oil, chocolate, natural flavors and sea salt. Each bar contains 130 calories, 10 grams of sugar and 2 grams of fiber.
The peanut butter bar features dates, oats, egg whites, peanuts, coconut oil, chocolate, natural flavors and sea salt. Each bar contains 130 calories, 10 grams of sugar and 2 grams of fiber.
“Our new RX Kids bars are rooted in consumer feedback,” said Jim Murray, president of RXBAR. “We want to provide a convenient snack option that parents can feel good about buying and kids are happy to eat, so the bar's easy-to-chew oat base and kid-friendly flavors are direct results of what we heard from fans.”
Peekaboo Ice Cream in June 2020 launched unicorn swirl and cookie dough flavors, both with hidden zucchini. The two new flavors contain one full serving of vegetables per container and are USDA certified organic, joining the original five, which debuted two years ago. They include chocolate with hidden cauliflower, cotton candy with hidden beets, mint chip with hidden spinach, strawberry with hidden carrot and vanilla with hidden zucchini.
“We have benefited from incredible timing,” said Jessica Weiss Levison, founder and chief executive officer. “We launched a better-for-you product that serves two needs: veggies and ice cream. With Peekaboo, a consumer can justify spending a little more for a higher-quality organic product that crosses two items off of their shopping list.
“During this stressful time, consumers are seeking to maximize their health, boost their immunity while seeking moments of comfort. Peekaboo provides the comfort and nostalgia of a tried and true favorite. It’s indulgent ice cream that also delivers vitamins and minerals from immunity-boosting organic veggies. Particularly during COVID-19, when parents are prioritizing the happiness of their kids over all else, myself included, arguing over veggies just isn’t worth the mental energy. We have received hundreds of messages from parents grateful for an option that brings joy to their kids and serves as a vehicle to deliver veggies, without any unnecessary drama.”
The Luving Co.’s KidsLuv brand in June 2020 added a new flavor to its line of vitamin enhanced, zero sugar beverages for children. Packaged in 8-oz cartons, the new Peach Me, I’m Orange drink is Non-GMO Project Verified, vegan, kosher and certified gluten-free. The drink is made with water, coconut water, calcium lactate, green tea, pomegranate fruit extract, acai fruit extract and organic flavors and contains 10 calories, 2 grams of carbs and 9 essential vegan vitamins per serving.
“We're thrilled to welcome our newest flavor, Peach Me, I'm Orange, to the KidsLuv family,” said Ashi Jelinek, founder and chief executive officer of KidsLuv. “Summer might look different for many kids this year, but that doesn't mean families have to settle for unhealthy kids' beverages. Our third and newest flavor is a welcome solution for parents who are wearing many hats these days; serving KidsLuv will ensure kids get the hydration and nutrition they need, especially as we move into warmer summer days.”
In April 2020, a team of industry veterans launched Mavericks, a brand of lunchbox-ready cookies and crackers for children. And then the pandemic shuttered schools across the United States.
“Looking back, had we known we were launching a healthy kids snack brand and school lunches and after-school sports weren’t going to happen because of COVID, we probably would have rethought the launch process,” said Christian Quie, president and general manager.
Mavericks is a business of Green Park Brands, the parent company of Hippeas, Ugly Drinks and Reel Paper, founded by Livio Bisterzo. Mr. Quie, a veteran of General Mills who more recently led the US launch of a fruit snacks brand, relocated his family from North Carolina to Los Angeles last year to develop and launch Mavericks following discussions with Mr. Bisterzo and recognizing the market opportunity.
“There is a tremendous amount of innovation in the baby/toddler space, and we are all aware there is so much innovation in the millennial and young adult space, but there really hasn’t been much for the kindergartener through middle school age,” Mr. Quie said.
The brand’s crackers have 8 grams of whole grains per serving and are available in original, cheddar and pizza varieties. The cookies contain 40% less sugar than the category leader, with flavors including chocolate chip, double chocolate and birthday cake. The company uses chicory root fiber to add sweetness while reducing sugar in the formulation.
“One of the insightful pieces of feedback we learned through listening to consumers is there has been a lot of focus and awareness for monk fruit and erythritol as sweeteners,” Mr. Quie said. “Parents are willing to try that themselves but are apprehensive about giving that to their kids, so we wanted to make sure we could find a sweetener that was mainstream and approachable for kids.”
The snacks are Non-GMO Project verified, peanut-free, free of artificial colors and preservatives, and school-safe, meeting the US Department of Agriculture’s “smart snacks” requirements.
The cookies and crackers are shaped like lightning bolts to encourage play. The box contains eight single-serve pouches and features an interactive game inside.
“In our consumer insights group with kids, they would spend the first five minutes playing with the shapes and making designs before eating it,” Mr. Quie said. “We also had learnings from adults who had nostalgia around the cereal box and playing and engaging with it.”
All six products debuted in Whole Foods Markets nationwide in April and on Amazon.com in May. Now, the company is partnering with social media influencers and launching a back-to-school promotion to drive awareness of the brand and products.
“Sixty-six percent of students right now in the US are remote learning,” Mr. Quie said. “That is a hurdle we are trying to navigate, but it is what it is, and we’re committed to the brand, and we’ve got some huge momentum right now behind it.”
In the long term, Mavericks is positioned as a platform brand that may expand to multiple product categories, but the team remains disciplined in building awareness and driving repeat sales of its core products. A challenge is communicating effectively to two consumer groups — the child who will eat the product and the adult who will buy it.
“We want to make sure we are authentic to the kids, and they see us on shelf and recognize us … and mom or dad picks it up and says, ‘This checks the box,’” Mr. Quie said. “The goal is to make sure we’re staying kid-first.”
In April 2020, This Saves Lives debuted Kids Krispy Kritter Treats, a new line of snacks for children that provide one full serving of fruits and vegetables per serving.
Containing 80 to 90 calories and 7 to 9 grams of sugar per serving, the marshmallow crispy rice treats feature a blend of apple, onion, broccoli, kale, cranberry and raspberry. Kids Krispy Kritter Treats are peanut-free, non-GMO, dairy-free, gluten-free and kosher and come in five varieties: Crocodile Chocolate Crunch, Unicorn Sprinkle Surprise, Mammoth Marshmallow Krisp, Bigfoot Campfire S’mores, and Dragon’s Dream Cookies N’ Cream.
“In thinking about creating our second kid line, it was important to us to develop a better-for-you version of a beloved sweet treat,” said Jensen Thome, chief executive officer of This Saves Lives. “Our existing Kids Snack Bars have been a hit with parents and kids everywhere, and we knew they’d love better-for-you Krispy treats. The new snacks are safe for all kids to enjoy, have a great nutritional profile, and start a conversation about the importance of helping others. It is our dream to end severe malnutrition, and we hope mindful snackers everywhere join us in creating a world where every child has the chance to thrive.”
Additionally, This Saves Lives is expanding its Kids Snack Bar and Classic Bar lines with new flavors, including Beehive Jive Honey & Oat and Elephant Apple Crisp Kids Snack Bars and Almond Mocha, Dark Chocolate Hazelnut, Dark Chocolate Caramel, and Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Classic Bars.
Each purchase of a This Saves Lives product sends a food packet to a child in need, and for a limited time, the brand is also matching every purchase on its website, providing its Classic Bars, Kids Bars or the new Kids Krispy Kritter Treats to a food insecure family in the United States in need as a result of COVID-19.
“Right now, it’s more important than ever to think of others and what we can each do to help our communities here and abroad,” said Kristen Bell, co-founder of This Saves Lives. “We may not be able to physically sit at the same table, but I firmly believe we can all still eat together. We created This Saves Lives to fight early childhood malnutrition, and I’m radically hopeful that we can continue to inspire action and save children’s lives. We’ve been working on our Kids Krispy Kritter Treats and new Kids and Classic Bars for some time, but it makes me feel good to launch them now, knowing they might help bring a little joy to families knowing they are sending life-saving food to children in need.”
This Saves Lives new Kids Krispy Kritter Treats are available on the company’s website and will hit retail shelves this summer for a suggested retail price of $4.29 per 6-count box. The new Kids Snacks Bars will be available for $5.99 per 5-count box and the new Classic Bars will retail for $23.99 per pack of 12.
Cece’s Veggie Co. in March 2020 launched Dinos & Cheese to help children eat more vegetables. Made with dinosaur-shaped white sweet potatoes and a creamy cheddar cheese sauce, the dish is organic and gluten-free. Each 9.6-oz bowl contains 400 calories and 10 grams of protein and retails for $4.99.
“At Cece’s, we love playing with our food and are super excited to launch Dinos & Cheese, which delivers a full serving of fresh veggie nutrition in every bowl, and also a lot of fun,” said Mason Arnold, founder of Cece’s Veggie Co. “Cece’s Dinos & Cheese will be a game-changer for busy families looking for healthy, organic meal solutions that taste delicious. Dinos & Cheese are made with white sweet potatoes, which look a lot like pasta, so kids don’t even notice that they’re eating vegetables. My own kids helped with product development and they can’t get enough of them — it turns kids into herbivores.”
Innovative plant-based offerings debut.
The Specialty Food Association awarded companies best new product in a variety of categories.