Press Release: Food & Beverage Leaders Call On Industry To Transform Food For Infants & Toddlers
Approach Stresses Sugar Reduction & Importance of Vegetables
Washington, D.C., July 30, 2019 — Leaders of companies that produce food and beverages called on the baby food industry to develop foods that shape healthy palates, supporting childhood development. These calls come as the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGAs) are under review.
“Ten years ago we were founded to engage the players that had the most power to shape the food culture, food and beverage companies” said Nancy Roman, President & CEO of the Partnership for a Healthier America, a nationwide nonprofit founded alongside Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Initiative. “As we look to the next ten years, we realize an opportunity to highlight the importance early foods play in shaping palate and in reducing the likelihood of obesity and chronic disease.”
In April, PHA launched a partnership with Sprout Foods Inc., a leading manufacturer of organic foods and snacks for babies and toddlers, to help influence nutritious food preferences by ensuring at least 50% of its purees have a vegetable as the first, most prevalent ingredient and continue to add no sugar to any of its pouches. Sprout will also educate parents about the role of early palate development in setting children up for a lifetime of better eating and better health.
“Training taste buds for a lifetime of better eating habits is at the core of what Sprout represents” said Rick Klauser, CEO of Sprout. “Exposing babies to veggies early and often is key to curbing our natural predisposition for sweet food. Today we challenge the baby and toddler food industry to join us in elevating nutrition standards and providing healthier choices to parents to help prevent obesity before it occurs”
Joining Roman and Klauser in conversation was Seth Goldman, Co-Founder and TeaEO Emeritus at Honest Tea and Roger Thurow, award-winning journalist and author of The First 1,000 Days, a book that helped to spark a larger movement to advocate for better nutrition for mothers and babies during pregnancy and the period immediately after birth. “The first 1,000 days are critical for the development of babies’ immune systems and brains, influencing their predisposition to obesity and chronic diseases later in life,” said Thurow.
Honest Kids Appley Ever After™ diluted apple juice product is now being distributed in McDonalds’ Happy Meals nationwide. Goldman noted the importance of exposing young consumers to less sweet drinks early in their development to help steer their long-term preferences. “Humans have a natural affinity for sweetness, so if you manufacture products solely based on taste preferences, they will always be sweeter.”
For the first time the 2020 DGAs will include evidence-based recommendations for pregnant mothers, infants and toddlers. This change will provide clear guidance on breastfeeding, formula, and complementary feeding that typically begins at four to six months.
About Partnership for a Healthier America
Partnership for a Healthier America is a nationwide nonprofit that leverages the power of the private sector to transform the marketplace and increase physical activity so that all children grow up healthy and free from obesity and diet-related chronic disease. Since its founding in 2010, PHA has worked with over 300 partners to identify opportunities for improvement and celebrate voluntary changes to business practices that enhance choice or lead to the development of new norms and behavior around food and physical activity. For more information about PHA, please visit www.ahealthieramerica.org and follow PHA on Twitter @PHAnews.