FOOD FOR KIDS: From heavy metals to pesticide residues... What does clean label mean in food for babies and young children?

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Image credit: GettyImages-monkeybusinessimages
Image credit: GettyImages-monkeybusinessimages

Related tags Clean label heavy metals Food for kids

Clean label used to mean avoiding anything ‘artificial’ on your ingredients list. Today, many consumers want brands to address things that don’t appear on the label, from heavy metals to pesticide residues, especially in food for their kids.

And while this has been bubbling under the radar for some time, headlines such as 'Study: 95% of Baby Foods Contain Heavy Metals,'​ (WebMD​) - prompted by a recent report​ from a nonprofit that found varying levels of arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury in leading brands of baby purees, puffs, formula, teething biscuits, juices, and cereals - have lately thrown the issue into sharp focus.

Given that the dose is the poison, are reports like this guilty of scaremongering by raising alarm bells over trace levels of herbicides such as glyphosate, or heavy metals commonly found in soil? Or are the authors right when they say that there is no safe level of lead in baby food?

And more importantly, what can the food industry do with this information?

We'll get into the weeds at our FOOD FOR KIDS summit​ in Chicago November 18-20, when FoodNavigator-USA editor Elaine Watson will sit down with Clean Label Project​ Executive Director Jackie Bowen to ask whether we should be worried about arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury in foods for babies and young kids, and how to turn insights into action.

In our fireside chat, we'll discuss:

  • What does the Clean Label Project test for and why?
  • Are brands routinely testing for things like arsenic in rice, cadmium in cocoa, or glyphosate in oats? Should they? 
  • Are trace levels of heavy metals or pesticide residues anything to worry about?
  • What can food manufacturers do with the information collected by organizations such as the Clean Label Project?

FOOD FOR KIDS: What are you feeding yours?

We’ve got an amazing lineup of speakers​​​​ at this year’s FoodNavigator-USA FOOD FOR KIDS summit​​​​​, from new brands such as Freeli Foods, Brainiac Kids, Raised Real and Serenity Kids; to established players, from Chobani and Kraft Heinz to Ocean Spray and Mondelēz.

Building on feedback from last year's event, we've also included sessions on kids' palates, the science of epigenetics, and the challenges of product testing with kids.

Held at Chicago’s W Hotel November 18-20, FOOD FOR KIDS 2019​​​​​​ will include:​​

  • KIDS AND THE PLANT-​​​​BASED TREND:​​​​ How are parents incorporating plant-based alternatives into their children’s diets? And what are the nutritional implications? With Michele DeKinder-Smith at Linkage Research.
  • CONSUMER PANEL:​​​​​ We will open with a panel of local parents, who delegates can quiz about everything from pester power to beverage choices for kids, favorite retailers and restaurants to what they look for on food labels.
  • TRAILBLAZERS:​​​​​ Three emerging brands that have developed innovative new products or business models in the kids’ food space will present their innovations live on stage in front of our expert panel featuring Lauren Jupiter at Accelfoods, Matthew Sade at Freeli Foods, and Barb Stuckey from Mattson.
  • YOU ARE WHAT YOUR MOTHER ATE:​​​​​ Explore the science of epigenetics with Dr Robert Murray from Ohio State University.
  • ARE WE MAKING PROGRESS ON CHILDHOOD OBESITY? ​​​​​The latest stats and insights from the CDC.
  • YUCK OR YUM:​​​​​ Product testing with kids with Keren Novack from Curion Insights and Emily Kimmins from Kraft Heinz.
  • CAN YOU TRAIN YOUR KIDS TO LOVE BROCCOLI?​​​​​ How are kids' flavor preferences developed? With Dr Catherine Forestell from William & Mary.
  • CASE STUDIES:​​​​​ From Gimmies (Chobani) to Freeli Foods, Mondelez SnackFutures, and Brainiac Kids, learn from companies building dedicated kids' food brands.
  • THE SIZE OF THE PRIZE​​​​​ Hear from SPINS and Euromonitor about the market opportunity for kids' foods and beverages.
  • FORMULATING FOR KIDS: ​​​​​From sweetness to texture to flavor, what do kids like? With Yummy Spoonfuls, Peekaboo Ice Cream and KidFresh.
  • KIDS BEVERAGES IN FOCUS: ​​​​​What are kids drinking? With Ocean Spray, Rethink Brands Euromonitor, and more.
  • THE FUTURE OF BABY FOOD:​​​​​ Is the future fresh? And should babies eat more meat? With Serenity Kids, Fresh Bellies, Lil Gourmets, and Raised Real.
  • CLEAN LABEL IN FOCUS: ​​​​​Beyond the ingredients list with the Clean Label Project.
  • FAST CASUAL FOR KIDS: ​​​​​Can fast-casual for kids be healthy and fun? Learn how Bean Sprouts Café found the sweet spot.

Find out more and register HERE.​​​​​

Check out the latest speakers HERE​.​​​​​

Find out more HERE​​​​​​ ​​​​​​about the event, which is sponsored by DSM​​​​​​, the Egg Nutrition Center,​ Beneo​​​​​​​, ​​​​Cargill​​​​​​, ​​​​​​Curion​​​​​​, IFF Health (Frutarom​​​),​​ Lil'Gourmets​​​​​, Sweegen​​​​, Ardent Mills,​ and Farbest Brands.​​

Related news

Show more

Related products

show more

Color creates expectation in plant-based meats

Color creates expectation in plant-based meats

Content provided by Lycored SARL | 13-Sep-2023 | Insight Guide

As the first interaction a consumer has with your product, color begins the sensory journey and creates the foundation for a delicious taste expectation...

Mastering taste challenges in good-for-you products

Mastering taste challenges in good-for-you products

Content provided by Symrise | 12-Sep-2023 | White Paper

When food and beverage manufacturers reduce sugar, salt, or fat and add fibers, minerals or vitamins, good-for-you products can suffer from undesirable...

Tomorrow’s bakery shortenings. Today.

Tomorrow’s bakery shortenings. Today.

Content provided by Cargill Oils | 31-Aug-2023 | White Paper

“The Next Generation of Bakery Shortenings” addresses the challenges of today’s functional issues and consumer taste preferences. To say bakery fats are...

Related suppliers

Follow us


View more