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“How do I get my kids to eat more veggies?” Parents face this and many other questions on a day-to-day basis as they try to give their children a healthy start in life. I know – I’m one of them!
It turns out that one of the answers to the vegetable question is to involve kids in preparing their own meals: our researchers at Nestlé found out that children who were involved in cooking ate more of their meal, including more vegetables.
Parents and caregivers understand that good food, nutritional knowledge and physical activity are key to their children’s health. At Nestlé, we believe that we can contribute to positive change, in particular by improving our products and sharing the knowledge we have gained over 150 years in food and beverages.
That is why we created Nestlé for Healthier Kids. This global initiative launched in May 2018 brings together all our efforts to support parents & caregivers in raising healthier kids.
Through accelerated product development, education and advice, our ambition is to help 50 million children lead healthier lives by 2030.
For over a decade, we have had a heightened focus on improving the nutritional value of Nestlé food and beverages. Nestlé for Healthier Kids is now accelerating those efforts even further.
Our immediate goals by 2020 include adding at least 750 million portions of vegetables and at least 300 million portions of fiber-rich grains, pulses, nuts & seeds to our products. We will also further reduce sugars by 5% and salt by 10% by 2020, as well as complete the commitment taken in 2014 to reduce saturated fats by 10% in all relevant products that do not meet WHO recommendations.
We also recognise that it is not enough simply to improve the nutritional profile of our food. Millennial parents are looking for attractive and desirable brands based on real and sustainable ingredients and supported by honest and transparent communication.
One of the more recent product launches to better meet these trends is the Gerber / Naturnes organic baby-food range, with vegetable and fruit purees, cereals-based snacks and nutritious meals. We also launched Nesquik Alphabet whole grain breakfast cereals with reduced sugar, Maggi baked noodles with vegetable inclusions, and NIDO organic milk powder.
We also see parents increasingly looking for plant-based options. That is why we are dedicating a significant part of our R&D budget to the topic of plant proteins and launching some great new products. Our Garden Gourmet range has a strong focus on supporting flexitarian parents to bring more plant-based meals to the family table.
Another important element of our work is fortification of our food. In 2017, Nestlé provided 174 billion servings of fortified foods and beverages in 66 countries where people lack essential micronutrients such as iron, iodine and vitamin A. For example, we introduced fortified NIDO GoldenStart with iron and zinc, milk, cereals and fruit for a healthy breakfast on the go.
While enhancing our food and beverages is the core of what we do for healthier kids, sharing nutritional knowledge can also help make parents’ and caregivers’ lives a little easier. We fully back the resolution made by CGF members on Communication & Education about Healthier Diets and Lifestyles.
For us, it starts with the first 1,000 days, which are crucial to the baby’s future health. We translate the latest scientific findings into practical advice, helping parents understand what to feed, how to feed, and why. At the end of 2017, the program provided robust education on nutrition, healthy hydration and physical activity to 14.4 million children in more than 81 countries. In 2017, our campaign “It takes all of us” dedicated to promote breastfeeding reached over 120 million parents, almost 95,000 healthcare professionals, and 56,700 employees.
We also see that our brands can play a positive role. Maggi, our cooking brand, helps millions of families to cook tasty and balanced meals. The brand is deploying an ambitious cooking education program for parents and kids using recipes, simple cooking tips, and online courses.
Just as crucial is that retailers and manufacturers work together and where the CGF is taking a leading role. Nestlé is amongst the CGF retailer and manufacturer members who are paving the way for a global Collaboration for Healthier Lives to empower individuals and families to lead a healthier life. We are proud to count amongst the pioneers of this collective action in Colombia, USA, Japan, Turkey, Costa Rica and we look forward to taking it to UK, France, Mexico and any other country. Retailers and Brand Manufacturers are working together to make stores and online platforms a Health & Wellness destination for individuals and families, with brands, products and services that are ‘good for you and good for the planet’.
Parents know that every day counts when it comes to preparing children for a bright future. They also can use a helping hand once in a while. That is where we at Nestlé believe we have a role to play. We look forward to working with CGF members and others to make that difference.
This post was written and contributed by:
Head of Nestlé for Healthier Kids