To reach its intended target market, Balchem is partnering with Ninja Life Hacks -- a popular children’s book series with over 1 million books sold that helps kids cultivate emotional life skills including developing a healthy and positive emotional relationship with food -- to develop branded product concepts from brain-boosting ice cream to nourishing protein crisps, said the company.
“Balchem entered into this agreement with Ninja Life Hacks to promote cognitive health, wellness, and emotional wellbeing through food,” Shitij Chabba, vice president minerals & nutrients and global marketing, Balchem Human Nutrition & Health, told FoodNavigator-USA.
Through the agreement, Balchem will create branded food concepts leveraging the company's ingredient technologies to share with food and beverage manufacturers that Chabba said will appeal to a “child’s sense of fun and their parent’s goals of bringing emotional and physical health to discussions at the kitchen, lunch, and dinner table.”
“There is so much potential in creating branded food products that promote a healthy emotional and physical relationship with food. We see opportunities to fortify foods that kids love with brain building choline and bone-building calcium. We can help create frozen novelties that contain choline and minerals and still taste great, so kids can have their treats and healthy nourishment at the same time,” said Chabba.
Emotions can play a huge role in children’s eating habits and snack consumption, and feelings of happiness and sadness can impact a child’s food choices and preferences beginning from a young age, according to a 2014 study by researchers at the University of Texas at Dallas.
“A healthy relationship with food is key to children’s mental and emotional wellbeing. The combination of Balchem’s unique food technology and featured Ninja Life Hacks characters will help to foster this positive relationship,” commented Ninja Life Hacks author Mary Nhin.
Working with licensing and brand management agency Brand Liaison, Balchem will develop branded concepts inspired by Ninja Life Hacks’ bright and colorful image.
“Together we will take the science of nutrition and make it understandable for kids and their parents through the Ninja Life Hacks characters,” said Chabba.
Fortified food ice cream, frozen novelties, protein snack crisps
There is also opportunity to address several micronutrient nutrition gaps prevalent among young children. A recent scientific review published in the journal Nutrients, found inadequate intake of several nutrients including vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin B6, calcium, fiber, choline, potassium and DHA among children between the ages of one and six, according to NHANES (National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey) 2001-2016 data of nearly 10,000 children.
“Our applications lab has created several concepts for consideration with our partners to take forward,” said Chabba.
Chabba noted how Balchem will leverage its flavor systems technologies for concept development in the ice cream and frozen novelty categories “so kids can have their treats and healthy nourishment at the same time.”
“VitaCholine is a perfect fit for food fortification concepts, as are our Albion Minerals (chelated minerals which promotes absorption by the body, according to Balchem). We’ve created new VitalBlend formulations and have plant-based systems that are fortified to create delicious and nutritious beverage bases and our Z-Crisps protein crisps are perfect for adding crunch and protein in many different food applications.”
In terms of when these kids snacking product concepts may enter retail, Chabba said, "We will be working with our partners to bring these branded snacks to market through all potential market venues. Balchem works with food and dietary supplement manufacturers of all sizes and in many markets. We believe food products branded with Ninja Life Hacks will have appeal through retail and online."
FOOD FOR KIDS 2021
Interested in the developments in the early childhood nutrition market and kids snacking category? Then don’t miss our FOOD FOR KIDS interactive online series, taking place November 10 + 17, 2021. Register your interest to stay current with event updates including speaker announcements and when registration opens!