MONTVALE, N.J., July 30, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Sprout Foods today challenged the baby and toddler food industry, government and influencers to join it in elevating nutrition standards and provide healthier choices to help prevent obesity before it occurs.
"Obesity is the most wide-spread and pressing childhood health issue[i], with the Center for Disease Control estimating the number of children with obesity ages 2 to 5 years old at nearly 14 percent," said Rick Klauser, CEO, Sprout Foods. "In the past, the focus has been on treating obesity. However, despite years of effort and tens of millions of dollars, the number of children with obesity continues to increase. The only way to reduce the long-term chronic illness and disease that result from obesity and impact lives, society and healthcare costs[ii] is to stop it from occurring in the first place," he said.
During the past 10 years, Sprout pioneered a unique approach to offer healthful alternatives with complete transparency. Research now affirms that although we are born with a predisposition to sweeter foods, it's possible to train babies' taste buds to enjoy vegetables and savory food – and even prefer them to sweeter tastes.[iii] By forging healthy eating habits early, we actually can prevent obesity[iv].
"Kids don't eat enough veggies, which are key to preventing obesity," said Sharon Palmer, MSFS, RDN and nutrition advisor to Sprout, adding, "90 percent don't meet the minimum daily vegetable requirement and only 27 percent of children eat vegetables on a given day.[v] Of those who do eat vegetables, the French Fry is the leading veggie consumed.[vi] Exposing children to healthier foods early, – especially more vegetables – gives parents the power to train their babies' taste buds to build healthy eating habits for a lifetime."
Child nutrition patterns are forged by 18 months[vii], so Palmer says start early and take every opportunity to train taste buds:
- During pregnancy, particularly at 8-12 weeks when a baby's taste buds develop[viii] and moms are likely to focus on their own nutritional journeys
- During weaning at 4-6 months, when foods are introduced and taste buds are most active[ix]
- During toddler years, when kids experience different textures and can express what they like[x]
- During preschool and beyond, when kids transition to table foods
Raising the Standards for the Industry – first company to match the outside with the inside
The key is for parents to have better choices and clear information on the package. Klauser notes it begins with foods that are rich in vegetables as the most prevalent ingredients and without added sugar. Beyond giving parents more of the best and most nutritious options available, Sprout is helping reform transparency in labeling.
"Parents buy millions of products for their babies every day with the best intentions, but without truly knowing the real nutrition if they don't study the back of the label," he said. That's why Sprout was the first to match the flavor names of the recipes to the predominant ingredients; something it has always done. Klauser says, "This gives moms an accurate indication of what's really inside the package where they are most likely to look, which is on the front label."
That's why Sprout set and continues to raise the standards, even when the government hasn't required it. Klauser applauds the effort by the USDA and FDA to work together to establish the first-ever nutritional guidelines for pregnant women and children younger than age 2. He pledges that he and Sprout actively will participate in the process to ensure the new 2020 guidelines reflect the company's rigorous approach to give parents easy, clear, understandable information to make better decisions.
Sprout's industry-leading standards include:
- No added sugar of any kind; free of preservatives, concentrates and fillers
- Majority of recipes feature veggies as the dominant ingredients; many include plant proteins
- Veggie-rich recipes specifically created to train taste buds to enjoy savory tastes and textures
- Flavor names and the order of ingredients on the front of the package match the back of the package to clearly reflect the nutrition that's actually in the product
A Case of David vs. Goliath – only company to publicly commit to higher nutrition standards
"For more than a decade, Sprout has produced wholesome, organic foods that are packed with veggies and don't contain added sugar.," Klauser said. "We know we're offering the choices parents want because they've made Sprout the fastest-growing baby and toddler food brand."
To help further drive the change to offer parents more nutritious options and spread this important nutritional message, Sprout became the only infant food company to join forces with Partnership for a Healthier America and publicly commit to improve children's diets by exposing babies to more vegetables and less sugar from the start. Building on its track record and experience, Sprout is pushing the standard even higher.
But Sprout knows the industry must join this mission to give more parents easier access to a greater variety of nutritious foods that are better for their children. In fact, Klauser noted the baby and toddler food industry is in a unique position to help parents shape taste preferences to radically reduce obesity. "My personal passion stems from family experience with the impact of obesity. Sprout is driven to do the right thing for parents and their children. We will not rest and encourage others join us in transforming how infants and toddlers eat to build healthy habits for life," he said.
About Sprout Foods
Sprout® provides premium organic foods and snacks for babies and toddlers that help parents raise healthy, adventurous eaters. With a broad range of choices including only USDA certified organic, non-GMO ingredients and a mix of whole fruits, vegetables and grains, Sprout's products are designed to expand baby's palate beyond sweet and establish a love of nutritious foods early on. Founded in 2008, the independent company is at the forefront of innovation in organic infant nutrition and is committed to re-imagining healthy eating for modern families. For more information on Sprout® and where to buy products, visit http://www.sproutorganicfoods.com.
[i] Childhood obesity: Costs, treatment patterns, disparities in care, and prevalent medical conditions. Thomson Medstat Research Brief, 2006. http://www.medstat.com/pdfs/childhood_obesity.pdf
[iii] Beauchamp, Gary K., and Julie A. Mennella. "Early flavor learning and its impact on later feeding behavior." Journal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition 48 (2009): S25-S30.
[iv] Pandita A, Sharma D, Pandita D, Pawar S, Tariq M, Kaul A. Childhood obesity: prevention is better than cure. Diabetes Metab Syndr Obes. 2016;9:83–89. Published 2016 Mar 15. doi:10.2147/DMSO.S90783
[v] Kim, Sonia A., et al. "Vital signs: fruit and vegetable intake among children—United States, 2003–2010." MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report 63.31 (2014): 671
[vi] Johanna T Dwyer, The Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS) 2016: Moving Forward, The Journal of Nutrition, Volume 148, Issue suppl_3, September 2018, Pages 1575S–1580S, https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxy159
[vii] Beauchamp, Gary K., and Julie A. Mennella. "Early flavor learning and its impact on later feeding behavior." Journal of pediatric gastroenterology and nutrition 48 (2009): S25-S30.
[viii] Schaal B, Marlier L, Soussignan R. Human foetuses learn odours from their pregnant mother's diet. Chem Senses 2000; 25:729–37
[ix] Harris, Gillian. "Development of taste and food preferences in children." Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care 11.3 (2008): 315-319.
[x] Dovey, Terence M., et al. "Food neophobia and 'picky/fussy' eating in children: a review." Appetite 50.2-3 (2008): 181-193.
SOURCE Sprout Foods