Report finds low innovation in functional foods for kids

By Lorraine Heller

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Nutrition

Innovation in healthy foods for children has been surprisingly lacking over the past year, with activity being particularly low in the North American market, according to a new global report.

Based on a collaboration between the two market research firms Mintel and Bio2com, the report notes that food and beverage products aimed at kids aged 5-12 made up only 10 percent of new launches in the past year.

“We are surprised to find that not more marketers are focusing on this segment, where both health and nutrition fundament is built and where brand loyalty is built”, ​said Karin Nielsen, CEO of Bio2com.

Activity low in North America

The largest surprise, said the group, was the low activity in North America, which came after Europe, Asia Pacific and South America in product launch activity.

“The explanation is that many of the large companies as Kellogg, General Mills, Nestle and Kraft may be busy on reformulating and re-launching current products by taking fat and sugar out, and putting fibres and grains in.”

From ingredients to market

The survey, Kids Health and Nutrition 2010, ​pooled data from Mintel’s global new products database (GNPD) and Bio2com’s NutraFiles healthy ingredients database. It examined 3000 products launched from January 2009 to June 2010.

Overall, innovation aimed at children was almost half of what it should have been based on a population size basis, said the researcher.

“In total, these products have a share of [a maximum of] 10 percent, depending on categories, where the most active categories are vitamins and supplements, as well as bakery and dairy.”

“Children in that age group represent approximately 20 percent of the global population, and have very defined nutritional needs, due to the growth phase they are in. Many of the dietary habits are established during these years, and it’s also a fact that many nutritional issues have impact on the future health condition, and thereby risks of chronic health issues.”

According to the report, some of the health issues that children’s food and beverage products could help address include obesity, diabetes, the immune system, cognitive development and performance, gut health and bone health.

Tomorrow, NutraIngredients will look at the range of functional ingredients used in different kids’ product categories, as well as how regional markets differ.

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