We’ve spent the weekend in sunny Anaheim, at the Natural Products Expo, which showcases foods, supplements, and beauty products that are … “natural”, a term that is hard to define. We focused our attention exclusively on the food and beverage exhibitors, small and large. All the products may be natural, but that does not necessarily mean they are healthy.
One of the growing product categories seem to be the squeezable pouches. The target market is toddlers who may, or may not, still be sucking on pacifiers, bottles, or sippy-cups. These pouches usually contain some mix of fruit and vegetable puree, and tend to be high in something young children crave – sugar.
Pictured above are 3 products we sampled at the expo. They are all single serve and range in serving size from 3 to 4 ounces.
The Go Go Squeez product is made from apples and apple juice, all organic. It has 60 calories, and 48 of them are from sugars. True, the 3 teaspoons worth of sugars are naturally present in the apple, but the fiber count is extremely low – just 1 gram. For comparison, a small apple with 60 calories will have 4 grams of fiber. Additional nutrients are lost in the process of transforming an apple into this mush.
The Dole pouch is similar in nutrients and ingredients. It is not organic.
The Plum Organics product is interesting. It is slightly larger – 4 ounces. Instead of 60 calories, it has 80, and only 44 of them are from sugar. It is not exclusively a fruit product, but rather incorporates Greek yogurt, quinoa, and chia seeds. The fiber count is slightly better – 2 grams.
The pros for the products above are convenience, taste, and the sense of doing nutritionally good by your child. The cons are lower nutrition compared to the original fruits, and setting your child up for food failure. Young kids are small people, not babies. They need to get started eating people food, not goop. The earlier you get your child used to new mouth-feel and flavors, the easier it will be later in life. Allowing your child to suckle on pouches instead of eating a real apple or quinoa might come back to bite you. It’s possible she’ll outgrow the squeeze pack but won’t want to be willing to eat a real fruit.
What do you think?