PARENTING: Desperate parents need better snacks for toddlers

Stand-up comedian and writer Sam Avery is partnering with baby and toddler food brand Organix to find out what’s hiding in some baby finger foods and toddler snacks. As a parent he’s standing up for his children and saying no to junk.

Research by Opinium for Organix, conducted among 1,000 UK parents of children aged 0-3 years, revealed that 76% were shocked to discover that some baby and toddler snacks contain up to 30 separate ingredients.

And 85% of parents were dismayed to find some baby finger foods and toddler snacks contain almost the same level of salt as a regular bag of adult crisps, while 88% were amazed that some of the foods sold in the baby aisle are not protected by regulations.

More than half of parents questioned (52%) said it’s difficult to find food they can trust. A quarter of parents (27%) admit to making a decision on whether to buy a food just by looking at the front of pack, despite the fact that 40% say they don’t trust the healthy food claims found there.

Parents highlighted five key areas where they’d like to see change:

  • Brands to be more transparent and honest about what’s in their foods (64%).
  • Food industry to reduce levels of salt, fat and sugar in food targeted at babies/toddlers (63%).
  • Food manufacturers to put children’s health before profit (61%).
  • Food industry to take responsibility to provide quality healthy snack foods for little ones (60%).
  • More regulation to ensure food targeted at children is healthy and nutritious (60%).

The research reveals the importance of good nutritional quality to parents, with 87% saying they want to see healthy and nutritious snacks for their little ones.

As well as unnecessary ingredients hiding in some snack foods, parents are calling for clearer labelling: 63% want brands to be more transparent about food labelling, and 31% say it’s not always clear from labels what ingredients are included in the food.

Philipp von Jagow, Managing Director at Organix, says: “There’s been a massive explosion in the number of baby and toddler snacks available, but it’s come at a nutritional cost. As brands have rushed to launch new foods, standards have slipped and we’ve seen sales of unhealthy snacks rise by 70% in the last two years.

“It’s unacceptable that it should take 30 different ingredients to make a tasty toddler fruit snack, or that salt should be added to corn snacks. It’s time we called for change to protect our little ones. There are existing baby food regulations governing nutrition and safety criteria but too many gaps in this regulation are allowing poorer standard foods to enter the marketplace – currently there’s a lack of integrity and enforcement and we’re calling for that to change.”

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