Competitors in the marketplace join forces to get more vegetables to young children
March 1, 2022
Baby food companies are driving access to veggie-forward options for parents and caregivers through Partnership for a Healthier America’s Veggies Early & Often Campaign
WASHINGTON, DC – Today, as National Nutrition Month commences, Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) announced that hundreds of veggie-forward options have been introduced to the marketplace to help children learn to love vegetables from an early age.
In the last year, seven baby food companies have partnered with PHA to make a difference in children’s nutrition and challenge the industry to raise the bar by offering parents and caregivers 148 products that meet PHA’s highest Veggies Early & Often icon requirements. Products approved to use PHA’s icon contain over half vegetables and help parents and caregivers identify products that deliver on their veggie promise.
“The introduction of these better foods is disrupting the status quo in the baby food market in order to pave the way for a healthier and more equitable food environment for our littlest eaters,” said Nancy E. Roman, President and CEO of Partnership for a Healthier America. “Research shows that a baby’s first bites can set a foundation for a healthy life, and our Veggies Early & Often partners are unlocking growth in the market by producing and selling veggie-forward products.”
Only 10% of young children meet recommendations for vegetable intake, a regrettable fact given evidence analyzed by PHA in the paper, Yes, Kids CAN Learn to Love Veggies suggesting that the early years are a unique window of opportunity to cultivate healthy taste preferences and dietary patterns.
Parent and caregiver efforts to provide veggie-forward diets to young children can either be supported or hampered by offerings in the baby and toddler food marketplace. The introduction of hundreds of veggie-forward products by PHA’s Veggies Early & Often partners reinforces the power of industry collaboration to accelerate consumer awareness about the latest recommendations for children’s health and nutrition.
The baby and toddler food manufacturers with products that currently meet PHA’s Veggies Early & Often icon requirements are:
Happy Family Organics
“Happy Family Organics is proud to join PHA’s Veggies Early & Often Campaign, an initiative that strongly aligns with our mission to change the trajectory of children’s health through nutrition,” said Anne Laraway, CEO of Happy Family Organics. “As a parent-led team, we know how challenging it can be to get little ones to eat enough veggies. As part of our commitments, we are doubling our vegetable-forward offerings over the next two years with products like our organic Savory Blends pouches, which contain 1 ½ servings of veggies per pouch. Together with PHA, we are working to create more options to help babies and toddlers learn to love their veggies.”
“We are thrilled that PHA has taken a leadership position in educating consumers and the industry on the critical importance of the early and often exposure to vegetables and provided us the opportunity to work with like-minded companies on advancing this cause,” said Shibani Baluja, Founder & CEO, lil’gourmets. “The implications go well beyond improving the health of an individual child. With the early exposure, we can make vegetables a crave-able food for life and save billions of dollars in lost economic costs caused by poor diets. We are honored to be an inaugural partner of the Veggies Early & Often initiative and proud that all of our products meet the requirements for the Veggies Early & Often icon.”
“We’re so excited about the progress PHA has made to raise awareness of the importance of Veggies Early & Often and even more importantly, work with food companies and the industry to drive more veggie forward meals into the market,” said Jennifer Chow, Co-Founder of Nurture Life. “Nurture Life is so proud to be a founding member of this movement with our veggie-packed baby finger foods and toddler and kid meals as we continually work to raise the standard for children’s food in our country.”
“Serenity Kids is proud to join the Veggies Early & Often campaign,” said Joe Carr, Co-Founder & President of Serenity Kids. “Our founding mission is to provide the best and most nutritious baby and toddler food for every child. We are determined to stand by that goal and continue to shake up the baby food industry with gourmet flavors and nutrient-dense products. All of our offerings are made without any added sugar or sugary fruits; instead, using ethically sourced meats from American family farms that utilize regenerative farming techniques and Certified USDA Certified Organic and Non-GMO Project Verified vegetables and herbs that help growing little ones learn to enjoy complex flavors and sets them up for a lifetime of healthier eating.”
“As a mom and dietitian, I know first-hand that offering baby a variety of veggies early and often offers critical nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life, prevents picky eating, and sets baby up for a lifetime of healthy eating habits,” said Katie Thomson MS, RD, Co-Founder and CEO of Square Baby. “Founded on a promise to offer science-based solutions for families, our entire menu of ‘Square Meals’ are nutritionally-balanced, meet PHA’s Veggie Icon criteria, and provide 100% of baby’s daily recommended servings of veggies, fruit, whole grains, and protein. We are incredibly proud to be founding members of PHA’s Shaping Early Palates Initiative and co-creating the Veggies Early & Often campaign alongside fellow baby food companies, leading health experts, and early childhood educators. Together, we can create meaningful change in the industry and raise the next generation of veggie-lovers.”
"Tiny Organics has been mission aligned with Partnership for a Healthier America since day one,” said Betsy Fore, Co-Founder & Co-CEO of Tiny Organics. “As a proud founding member, Tiny is the first non-puree baby nutrition product to adopt the Baby-Led Weaning method as well as the PHA icon. We are proud to continue creating more healthy and adventurous eaters by shaping their palates towards savory-forward and whole vegetables-focused ingredients throughout early child development.”
“At Yumi, we are proud to be paving the way in disrupting the food industrial complex by focusing on nutrient dense, veggie-first options during the critical first years of life,” said Evelyn Rusli, Co-Founder of Yumi. “The science is clear - vegetable exposure during these formative years has a profound impact on future taste preferences and a lifetime of health outcomes. We stand with Partnership for a Healthier America as we work to empower parents, arming them with better choices and information to help foster a new generation of healthy eaters.”
Other partners in the Veggies Early & Often campaign include national early childhood education centers who have collectively reformulated 39 of their menu items to meet the icon’s requirements, and health professionals from across the country who are committed to giving all children a healthy and equitable start by driving awareness of the importance of vegetable consumption for infants and toddlers.
The early childhood education centers with menu items that currently meet PHA’s Veggies Early & Often icon requirements are:
“In the eight years since KinderCare joined the Partnership for a Healthier America, we’ve advanced our vision to provide access to nutritious and tasty meals in an inclusive environment that nurtures healthy habits for life,” said Jodi Kuhn, Director of Nutrition & Wellness at KinderCare. “Now, with this focus on Veggies Early & Often, we’re furthering our efforts with an emphasis on vegetables. By increasing the variety of veggies on our menu, to partnering with chefs to make veggies more kid-friendly and tasty, we’re working to raise a new generation of adventurous eaters who love their veggies and have the foundation of good nutrition from the start.”
Learning Care Group
“We’re proud to lead the way among childcare providers in giving our children the knowledge, motivation, and experience to pave the way for a lifetime of healthy habits as we raise a generation of veggie lovers,” said Donna Pomerson, Sr. Director of Operations Compliance at Learning Care Group. “By serving Veggies Early & Often, we’re supporting our young learners in becoming healthy and adventurous eaters. Our Grow Fit menu now features 29 vegetables overall, a Veggie Fueled Friday lunch, and new offerings such as our delicious Sweet Potato Porridge for breakfast and Pizza Green Beans for lunch.”
PHA will continue to add new commitments from baby and toddler food manufacturers as well as early childhood education providers to increase access to veggie-forward options in the marketplace and in child care centers.
To learn more about the Veggies Early & Often campaign, icon criteria, or PHA’s commitment to raising a generation of veggie lovers visit www.ahealthieramerica.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
ABOUT PARTNERSHIP FOR A HEALTHIER AMERICA
Partnership for a Healthier America is the premier national nonprofit organization working to create lasting, systemic changes that transform the food landscape in pursuit of health equity. PHA develops evidence-based approaches that are implemented in partnership with the private sector, nonprofits, and government, leveraging PHA’s assets and the partner’s knowledge to accelerate the pace of transformation.
Media Contact: Megan Orciari, email@example.com