17 May 2018 --- Nestlé is beefing up their children's nutrition programme with a focus on developing health fortified and sugar and salt reduced products. The move is hoped to offer children more nutritious food options, as part of Nestlé's wider Healthier Kids initiative. Other key goals of the on-going initiative include: “Building knowledge on children’s nutritional needs and inspiring parents & caregivers to raise healthier kids,” a Nestlé spokesperson tells NutritionInsight.
“Childhood is a time where life-long habits are formed. We want to help parents make healthier choices for their children. This is why we are accelerating our efforts to support families in raising healthier kids and we call on others to join us in this endeavor,” says Mark Schneider, Nestlé CEO.
Since its foundation, Nestlé has stated their commitment to helping parents and caregivers with the adequate nutrition of their children. As part of the Healthier Kids initiative, the company has launched more than 1000 new products to meet the nutritional needs of children in 2017, as well as providing 174 billion servings of fortified foods and beverages in 66 countries where certain essential nutrients are lacking: iron, iodine and vitamin A.
Nestlé state that their plans are to continue in this manner by using “industry-leading innovation” capability to further enhance their foods and beverages for children. Products will be healthily enhanced with more fruits, vegetables, fiber-rich grains and micronutrients. They will also continue to reduce sugars, salt and saturated fats.
A Nestlé spokesperson expanded on these innovative capabilities to NutritionInsight: “We have discovered a way to change the structure of sugar using only natural ingredients, so it dissolves more quickly on your tongue. This ‘structured’ sugar delivers a sweet sensation more quickly than normal sugar. This allows us to use less total sugar in the product while providing an almost identical sweet taste. The innovation could help us reduce sugar by up to 40 percent. The first product, Milkybar Wowsomes, has already achieved a 30 percent sugar reduction versus comparable products.”
“The structured sugar particles are aerated, so they are porous rather than solid. We have not created a new artificial sweetener. This is still sugar, but we have structured the particles differently using only natural ingredients.”
Some further recent product launches that have undergone health transformations include Gerber Grabbers Strong Veggies vegetable and fruit purees, Nido organic milk powder and Nesquik Alphabet whole grain breakfast cereals with reduced sugar.
Its immediate goals by 2020 are to:
Nestlé will also enhance programs and online services designed to provide parents and caregivers with more nutritional knowledge, healthy recipes and practical tips. In 2017, over 300 partnerships worldwide have helped the company reach more than 14 million children, in regions such as the Philippines.
“In collaboration with national health authorities, child nutrition experts and/or education authorities, we are providing school educators with educational toolkits to support them in their role to teach nutrition and physical activity to children 6-12 years old. These school programs, reaching children several times during the school year, are already implemented in more than 80 markets and have reached over 14 million children.”
“The role of Nestlé is to fund, steer, quick-start programs. We contribute to provide inspiring and scientifically robust content and to set objectives ensuring the program is impactful and worth the investment.”
“We believe it is important that the public sector is the driving force behind nutrition and physical activity education. Nestlé supports governments, teachers and NGOs in their role to teach nutrition to children in schools. Each school program is designed and implemented in collaboration with national health authorities, child nutrition experts and/or education authorities.”
By Laxmi Haigh
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