Research Food Scientist
The topic of childhood nutrition is top of mind for many these days — why? Perhaps it's because research shows that most children in the U.S. don't meet recommendations for healthy eating or physical activity, and the obesity rates have climbed significantly over the past few decades. Today, nearly 1 in 3 children in America is overweight or obese.
The topic is all over the news right now and something we've been talking about in our labs and with customers. The food industry can play an important role by developing kid-friendly products that taste great and provide nutritious options for families.
At IFT this year, Cargill will showcase new ways to overcome formulation challenges associated with childhood nutrition recommendations. Please stop by our booth, #1721, to learn more about how we can help create great tasting kid-friendly products.
To help manufacturers better understand the changing regulatory environment as it pertains to childhood nutrition, my colleague Regulatory Senior Scientist Kristen Dammann, PhD, RD, will conduct live presentations in the booth on Tues., June 26, at 1:30 p.m. and again on Wed., June 27, at 11:00 a.m. These sessions will provide an overview of policies, regulations and recommendations – such as the new standards for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National School Lunch Program and School Breakfast Program, Menu Labeling, Guidelines for Food Marketed to Children, and the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans – and how they are impacting the food industry.
Additionally, we will feature a number of food and drink concepts designed to excite kids’ and their parents’ taste buds. For instance, visitors to our booth can try a reduced sodium chicken quesadilla with 25% less sodium than a traditional chicken quesadilla, and a reduced fat mini burger on a whole wheat bun. The mini-burgers also have protein levels to meet school lunch program credit requirements and fit the National Restaurant Association’s Kids LiveWell program. We’ll feature a springy, tasty muffin with 40% less fat than traditional muffins as well.
For better-for-you snacks, you can try our whole grain blueberry snack bars with yogurt flavored drizzle. They taste great and meet the 30/10/30 rule (30% or less calories from fat; 10% or less calories from saturated fat; at least 30% less sugar by weight) for school nutrition programs. You can also taste regular or chocolate pretzels, which deliver a good source of fiber per serving. Additionally, our sugar-free peppermint patties provide a sweet treat with 33% fewer calories than the leading peppermint patty.
To quench your thirst, you can try our reduced sugar raspberry juice beverage. This juice beverage contains 40% less sugar than a traditional sugar-sweetened juice beverage. Our reduced-sugar chocolate milk concept delivers a kid-friendly drink with 25% less sugar than traditional chocolate milk.
Last but not least, for mom and dad, visitors to our booth can try a shelf-stable omega-3 nutritional beverage that was designed to satisfy consumers’ demand for easy ways to incorporate omega-3s into their diets with an “excellent” source of ALA omega-3 claim.
The childhood obesity epidemic and other nutrition-related issues are discussed on television, the Internet, and in books, newspapers, and magazines. But, with so much information out there, it can be hard to figure out how we as formulators can be part of the solution. I hope that you will join me and my colleagues at IFT so that we, as an industry, can figure it out together. I hope to see you there!
Molly Burke is Research Food Scientist at Cargill. She has been with Cargill for the entirety of her first year in the food industry.