What's in your lunchbox? Healthy meals, snacks and drinks for children

Introducing the FoodNavigator-USA summit 2018: FOOD FOR KIDS!

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Introducing the FoodNavigator-USA summit 2018: FOOD FOR KIDS!

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Almost one in three American children is overweight or obese, and one in every 13 has a food allergy.* So how can retailers, packaged food brands and the foodservice industry address these concerns, and develop nutritious and delicious meals, snacks, and beverages that parents want to buy and children want to eat?

In FoodNavigator-USA’s new summit FOOD FOR KIDS​ – held in Chicago’s W Hotel on November 12-14 - we will open with a lively parents’ panel exploring the day-to-day challenges around cooking and shopping for kids, and then take a deep dive into the market, the marketing, the branding, the nutrition science (what kids are actually eating, vs what they probably should be eating), and the infant microbiome.

Next we'll address the questions: Why do so many kids have food allergies (is it changes in gut bacteria? the hygiene hypothesis? the rising use of antibiotics?) Is prevalence, and in some cases severity, increasing? What do we know, what don’t we know (yet), and what are the next steps in addressing the problem?  

We’ll also delve into the latest brand innovations targeting every life stage, from the new wave of HPP baby food brands to Paleo meat snacks for tweens, healthy lunchbox snack trends, low-and zero sugar beverages, clean label trends, and new direct-to-consumer distribution models.

Finally we'll explore what children are eating outside the home, whether we need a 'kids' menu' at restaurants, and how companies targeting schools and quick service restaurants are finding ways to develop healthier foods that meet tight budgets and evolving nutrition standards, but also appeal to kids.

  • Find out more and register​ HERE.
  • Check out the latest speakers HERE​.
food for kids brands drinks

Key elements, themes and speakers:

The consumer panel​: We ask parents to tell us what they like, what they don’t like, and what they look for on a food label or menu when they shop for food for their children, or eat out with their kids.

The big picture… Are our kids eating junk​? What are American children eating and how has it changed over the years? Why are so many kids overweight and obese? What’s the problem, and how can we encourage healthier eating habits? And what role should the food industry play? How do we get kids to eat more fruits, veggies, wholegrains, and milk?

  • Get a provocative – but constructive - perspective from Margo Wootan at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, ​and a closer look at what young children are actually eating, and why such a high percentage are dealing with overweight and obesity, from Dr Robert Murray at Ohio State University.

Babies born in the US don’t have the microbiome that they did 100 years ago. Why, and does it matter?

  • Cutting edge research into maternal and infant nutrition and the role of the gut microbiome presented by Evolve Biosystems​ CEO Dr David Kyle.

Why do so many kids have food allergies and what can we do about it?​ New research, strategies, and how brands are developing allergy-friendly foods and beverages.

  • Hear from Dr Stephen Taylor at the University of Nebraska Lincoln​, and Joel Warady from allergy-friendly brand Enjoy Life Foods.
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 Three emerging brands focusing on food for babies or children will present their innovations – and receive constructive feedback - from our expert panel live on stage.

  • Find out what design and branding expert Blake Mitchell from Interact Boulder,​ and product development specialist and innovation guru Barb Stuckey from Mattson​ think of the innovations on offer.

Formulating and marketing clean label, lower sugar, wholesome, nutritious and healthy food for kids:​ From HPP babyfood to dairy snacks, protein snacks, healthy beverages. Formulating nutritious – but appealing - food for kids.

  • Get the lowdown via three panel debates on babyfood, snacks, and beverages, featuring experts from Kraft-Heinz (Capri Sun), Enjoy Life Foods (Mondelez), Little Dish, Once Upon a Farm, The New Primal, Sneakz Organic, Nurture Life ​and more.

How to build a kids’ food brand​: Branding, packaging design, marketing and advertising. How do you appeal to kids and​ their parents? Create some cartoon characters and use comic sans serif font, or something a little more nuanced?

  •  Quiz Fred Hart from food and beverage design and branding specialist Interact Boulder.

The kids menu​: Foodservice trends… and do we need a ‘kids’ menu’?  

  • Find out how Revolution Foods​ is negotiating different challenges in retail and foodservice markets and building a brand that spans both.
food for kids brands

Speakers include (please check on the website​ for updates as this is updating weekly):

  • Melanie Huet​, VP brand building, Kraft Heinz
  • Joel Warady, ​general manager, chief sales and marketing officer, Enjoy Life Foods
  • Regina Lee Fechter,​VP Innovation, Happy Family Brands 
  • Ari Raz, ​co-founder, Once Upon a Farm 
  • Christie Lagally, ​founder and CEO, Seattle Food Tech
  • Cherry Joh​, senior director of marketing, thinkKIDS
  • Brian Levy ​, CEO, Pulse Health & Wellness
  • Margo Wootan​, director nutrition policy, The Center for Science in the Public Interest
  • Pat Donovan​,  VP business development, Revolution Foods
  • Hillary Graves​, co-founder, Little Dish
  • Stephen L. Taylor,​ Ph.D., co-founder of the Food Allergy Research and Resource Program at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln
  • Barb Stuckey​, president and chief innovation officer, Mattson
  • Jason Burke​, founder, The New Primal
  • Jeff Robbins, ​CEO, Sneakz Organic
  • Jennifer Chow​, co-founder, Nurture Life
  • Blake Mitchell​, principal, Interact Boulder
  • Robert Murray​, professor of pediatrics and human nutrition at Ohio State University
  • David Kyle​, PhD., chief scientific officer, Evolve BioSystems
  • Fred Hart,​ creative director and partner at Interact Boulder

Find out more HERE​ ​about the event, which is sponsored by Beneo​, DSM​, Sabinsa​, Cargill​, ​and Peatos ​(Snack it Forward).

*​ The obesity stats are from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)​ and the allergy estimates are from FARE (Food Allergy Research and Education).

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