Sprout Foods commits to adding more veggies to its baby food to help prevent obesity later in life

By Elizabeth Crawford

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Partnership for a Healthier America sugar reduction Baby food

Frustrated that efforts to “treat or fix” childhood obesity in the US have fallen short, Sprout Foods is teaming with the Partnership for a Healthier America to try and prevent the problem from occurring by training children from an early age to crave vegetables instead of sweets.

At the PHA Summit in Chicago last week, Spout Foods committed to ensure that 50% of its pouch purees have a vegetable as the first ingredient and that all of its pouches continue to be free from added sugar and free from concentrates, additives and preservatives.

“Sprout is here with Partnership for Healthier America to announce our commitment to next generation infant nutrition and service and support, because obesity has long been a disease state in the US that has not been on the decline,”​ Rick Klauser, CEO of Sprout Foods, explained.

“Today, 18% of children under the age of 1 are obese and we know that children who aren’t taught to eat the right kind of varieties of fruits and vegetables end up having higher levels of sugar in their diet,”​ which can set the stage for obesity later in life, he explained.

But there is hope, he noted. During the first 1,000 days of life – including the time in the womb – children are developing their palate and dietary patterns, and caretakers can change the health outcome of children by helping them learn to like healthy foods, he explained.

Because it is more difficult to teach children to eat savory foods and vegetables, Sprout Foods is hoping to ease the burden slightly by making pouch purees with vegetables as the first ingredient but which children will still enjoy.

“When you start to engage a baby before the age of 1 and expose them to a great variety of fruits and vegetables then by the time they are over 1, they have a much better chance of avoiding obesity,”​ Klauser said.

To fully appreciate Sprout Foods’ approach, it is necessary to understand that many pouched purees on the market are predominately fruit – even if they list kale or broccoli as the first ingredient on the front of the package.

Klauser explained that legally in the US, manufacturers are not required to list ingredients on the front of pack in the same order in which they are used in the food – meaning some producers will list a vegetable or premium ingredient first on the front of the pouch, even if it has the lowest concentration in the formula.

This can be misleading to parents, Klauser said, adding that he hopes by partnering with PHA he can raise awareness around the issue and encourage other players in the space to make vegetables the first ingredient in the recipe.

While Sprout Foods’ has focused its commitment with PHA on its baby food products, it is also expanding its portfolio to make eating more vegetables easier for the full family with a launch of veggie forward snacks for older children and parents.

Klauser explained that the company recently launched a chickpea and lentil curl with broccoli powder for toddlers and two sub-brands of grain and veggie snacks that have more adult flavor profiles.

He noted that parents who want their babies to eat clean, simple and nutritious food also want the rest of their families – and themselves – to eat the same way. This way Sprout Foods can make that easier for them and can earn loyal consumers for life.

Editor’s Note: Learn how other companies are helping consumers reduce sugar by tuning in for our free 1-hour webinar April 30 starting at 12:30 ET. Find all the details and register for The Sweet Spot: Reducing Sugar Without Reducing Flavor HERE​.

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