Nestle invests in brain health and immunity for kids

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Nestle invests in brain health and immunity for kids

Related tags: Nutrition

Nestle USA has launched two fortified juice drinks for children, which it says are amongst the few products specifically targeting brain and immune development in the under five age group.

Introduced as part of its Juicy Juice line, the ‘Brain Development’ and ‘Immunity’ drinks claim to provide young children with “important nutrients” ​that may be lacking in their diets, says the firm.

This latest launch comes just a few months after Nestle’s introduction of a probiotics drink for children, indicating that the firm is investing heavily in the children’s functional food and beverage market.

To read the NutraIngredients-USA.com article on the launch of Nestle’s probiotic Boost Kid Essentials Drink click here​.

Brain health

Juicy Juice Brain Development is a fruit juice fortified with omega-3 DHA for children aged one to two. Nestle claims it is the only children’s fruit juice drink on the market made with DHA.

DHA – or Docosahexaenoic acid – is a long chain omega-3 essential fatty acid and is thought to support fetal brain and eye development during pregnancy. After the baby is born, DHA – consumed through breastfeeding or fortified infant formulas – is said to support mental, visual and motor skills development.

According to Nestle, its new juice product allows children who are old enough to consume juice to receive continued DHA after they stop breast feeding or taking infant formula. The drink contains 16mg of DHA per serving.

“DHA acts as a building block for brain development during a child's first two years of life,”​ said the firm, citing a study published in 2007 (Am J Clin Nutr. 2000;71(suppl):285S-291S).

Immunity

Juicy Juice Immunity is aimed at children aged three to five. It is fortified with zinc, vitamin C and prebiotic fiber, and claims to help support a healthy immune and digestive system.

Prebiotics are non-digestible food ingredients that encourage the activity of probiotics. Probiotics are ‘good’ bacteria that improve the balance of intestinal microflora to benefit gut health and boost the immune system.

“Both vitamin C and zinc are essential nutrients in a child's everyday diet, as neither can be produced by the body and must be replenished on a regular basis. Fiber is also highly important in a child's diet [and] children three to five years old consume only 11.4 grams of fiber a day on average, while the recommended amount is 25 grams per day,”​ said Nestle.

The new product contains 3g of fiber per serving and is said to be “one of the few”​ juice beverages targeted towards children that contains prebiotic fiber.

Product positioning

Nestle quotes doctor of medicine Yinka Davies as saying: "Important nutrients such as DHA and prebiotic fiber are often difficult to incorporate into a child's diet, particularly after a child has finished breastfeeding or drinking formula, and before they are able to eat a full spectrum of food".

"Juicy Juice Brain Development and Juicy Juice Immunity are additional resources for parents to incorporate much needed nutrients into their child's diet, while still giving them the great tasting fruit juice beverages that they love."

The drinks are available in apple, berry and grape flavors. They contain 70 percent juice and 30 percent filtered water, which Nestle claims is a way to deliver less sugar and calories through dilution.

The juices are shelf stable and come in 33.8 fluid ounce Tetra cartons, with a suggested retail price of $2.99.

Children’s functional food market

According to a report published last year, the children’s functional food and beverage market in the US is set for strong growth over the next three years.

Published by consultancy TSG, the report draws on different sources of market research and predicts the kid’s functional food and beverage category will grow to $26.8bn by 2011 from $16.4bn in 2007. Growth will continue at double digit rates beyond 2012, it predicts.

Areas of particular focus include obesity, hyperactivity, brain function, gut health and immunity. To read the NutraIngredients-USA.com article on the report, click here​.

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