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Misleading Healthy Snacks for Children

  • Written by Editor

Good Food Guide | Misleading Healthy Snacks for Children | Andover & VillagesCherry Healey, TV presenter, food investigator and Mum of 2, launches a nationwide junk busting campaign with baby food brand Organix, and junk busting parenting bloggers across the UK, to investigate what’s hiding in some of the finger foods and snacks marketed for little ones.

Increasingly concerned about the quality and quantity of unnecessary ingredients in some baby finger foods and toddler snacks, Organix commissioned a survey to uncover parents’ attitudes to snacks for babies and toddlers, and find out what they think needs to change.

Number of ingredients: 67% of parents shocked to discover that some baby and toddler snacks contain up to 30 separate ingredients.

Added salt: 78% of parents shocked to find some baby finger foods and toddler snacks contain almost the same level of salt as a regular bag of adult crisps. 75% shocked that extra salt is added to some baby and toddler snacks to boost the flavour. Regulation: 84% shocked that some of the foods sold in the baby aisle are not protected by regulations.

Half of parents questioned (50%) said it’s difficult to find food they can trust. A quarter of parents (28%) admit to making a decision on whether to buy a food just by looking at the front of pack, despite the fact that 41% say they don’t trust the healthy food claims found there.

Worst Places Out and About for Unhealthy Snacks in the South East Parents want healthy food choices when out and about in the South East. Family attractions, theme parks and soft play centres are the hardest places to find healthy snacks for babies and toddlers - parents rank the top 5 worst offenders:

Good Food Guide | Misleading Healthy Snacks for Children | Andover & Villages

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

Food brands need to be more transparent and honest about what’s in their foods (68%).

Food industry to reduce levels of salt, fat and sugar in food targeted at babies/toddlers (70%).

Food manufacturers to put children’s health before profit (70%).

Food industry to take responsibility to provide quality healthy snack foods for little ones (65%).

More regulation to ensure food targeted at children is healthy and nutritious (59%).

Parents want healthier food options to be available

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

51% of parents wish there were healthier options in the supermarket.

64% complain about the lack of savoury snack choices compared to sweet.

As well as unnecessary ingredients hiding in some snack foods, parents are calling for clearer labelling.

68% of parents want brands to be more transparent about food labelling.

34% of parents say it’s not always clear from labels what ingredients are included in the food.

Making change happen

Mum and TV presenter Cherry Healey, from the BBC’s Inside the Factory, is working in partnership with Organix to review what’s hiding in some of the finger foods and snacks on sale in the baby and toddler aisle, and is asking parents to join the investigation.

Cherry Healey says: “As a mum, I feel passionately about the quality of children’s food. There are some great snack foods on supermarket shelves but there’s also some misleading labelling, and I’ve found unnecessary ingredients hiding in baby and toddler snacks, like added flavourings and salt. It’s time we did something about it. Join me in campaigning for #FoodYouCanTrust.”

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 2 years1.

“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.”

As a result of the survey and as part of its Junk Busting Campaign, Organix has embarked on a major study analysing the nutritional standards and practices of 150 snacks sold on the baby aisle – the results of which are expected in July 2018. The aim is to expose the reduction in the quality of snacks on the baby aisle and the detrimental impact this is having on our children’s health.

How to get involved

Parents are invited to join Cherry Healey as she investigates what’s hiding in baby finger foods and toddler snacks and become part of the campaign for change. Join the debate, share your views, take photos of foods and food labels and share them with the hashtag – #FoodYouCanTrust.