Q&A: Formulating for Fussy-Eaters

June 2022

It’s hard enough being a parent, but managing the meal-prep for picky, hard-to-please children is an uphill climb. To offer parents a helping hand, formulators can innovate food and beverage products that take natural, wholesome nutrition and incorporate it into an exciting snack even the fussiest eater can enjoy.

We sat down with Paula Bentley, the U.K.& Ireland Sales Manager at Chaucer Foods, to dive into the consumer demands shaping the kid-friendly food and beverage industry.

Q: How is the kid-friendly food and beverage industry shaped by outside factors?
A: One of the biggest influences on the food and beverage industry is the legislation enacted by governments, which shapes industry standards. In the U.K, the implementation of new legislation bans the placement and promotion of products that are high in fat, salt or sugar (HFSS). This will limit the ability to purchase these HFSS foods in volume, like buy-one-get-one deals. As a result of the new ruling, producers of these HFSS foods are pressured to rethink their formulations and innovate a healthy, better-for-you indulgence to retain sales. Producers of kid-friendly foods and beverages should proactively pivot their formulations to ensure the offering meets new health standards.

Q: Are there any common challenges formulators run into when producing kid-friendly products?

A: When formulators try to take sugar, fat, and salt out of traditional offerings, they often face the challenge of still producing the same taste and texture that consumers love and are familiar with. Certain formulations, such as bread, require salt to achieve the desired final product. To meet these new health standards, formulators must figure out the perfect balance of undesired—but necessary—ingredients for an appealing product.

From a consumer standpoint, a product must be both enjoyable for the child, but easily understood by the parent. For this, formulators must use simple, clean ingredients that are tasty but easily recognisable on the packaging for parents to trust. While kids might love a snack full of artificial flavours and colours, parents need to know what level of nutrition they are giving to their children. As a result, parents rely on an honest food and beverage message to educate them on the quality of their child’s favourite food.

 

Q: What nutritious benefits are sought-out for these kid-friendly products?
A: Parents seek out clean label messaging and functional benefits to help understand what nutrition they are giving their children. They know that processed foods are unhealthy, but it is often a quick and effortless way to feed their kids when everyone is on the go and budgets are tight. As more consumers become aware of nutrition and the value-add of healthy ingredients, the interest in claims for microbiome, gut and mental health increased. Due to the growing interest in health claims, along with the need to feed their kids in a pinch, parents are on the hunt for nutritious convenience offerings.
Q: How can formulators use fruits and vegetables to offer wholesome nutrition—while still tasting great to a kid?
A: To appeal to children while getting the approval from the parent, producers must be creative about their incorporation of nutritious ingredients. By “sneaking in” wholesome, natural ingredients within a gummy treat, bar or snack mix, kids get the treat they love, and parents can know they are giving their child a healthy snack. Freeze-dried fruit and vegetable powders are a terrific way to sprinkle condensed nutrients within a snack, without the need for artificial sugars or colouring.

Kids want to enjoy what they eat – adding a crunch gives additional interest. When eating, kids are all about the crunch factor and making noise with their food. However, having clear
messaging is essential for the stamp of approval from parents. Incorporating clean label, and other easily recognizable ingredients, within creative formulations is the golden ticket for these kid-friendly formulations. Chaucer’s all-natural ingredients supply both the clean label nutrition for parents, and the bright, impactful presentation for finnicky children. Formulators should address both demands by simply adding in whole or diced freeze-dried fruits inclusions. This way, children can happily crunch on a freeze-dried strawberry or one of the baked solutions without getting an extra sugar rush from additives.

Q: With the ongoing high obesity rates, how can kid-friendly options combat the current obesity trends and lean into the parent’s demand for healthy, nutritious fuel for active kids?

A: The positive trend of a growing global interest in healthy eating to combat the high obesity rates shows a promising future. As parents become more educated and aware of health issues, they demand producers to take action by innovating healthy offerings, like kid-friendly probiotic, low-sugar and low-calorie products. When parents are not only able to educate themselves and their children about the importance of nutrition, but have access to nutritious kid-friendly products, the kids can grow up accustomed to healthy eating.

Q: Why is Chaucer uniquely positioned to help businesses connect their product with an increasingly influential audience like kids?

A: Chaucer Food’s clean label and dynamic ingredient range not only packs a punch with its nutrient density and crunchy textures, but our team is also all about collaboration. Our whole team is dedicated to developing and innovating new requests to ensure that our customer’s highest expectations are met. Our advanced technology allows us to effectively innovate and elevate our client’s new products to make a splash.

Looking to add Chaucer’s ethically sourced ingredients to your formulations? Contact us at customer.services@chaucerfoods.com to connect with our team.

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