Of all the brands I’ve ever worked with on this blog, Organix has been one of my favourite and longest running relationships. I’ve been to their headquarters in Bournemouth a couple of times (it’s gorgeous) and learned SO much about kids’ snack food, the industry as a whole and why it’s important to at least think about this stuff as a parent.
And believe me, it IS important. Warning: what you’re about to read might make you mad.
This year the work continues, as I’m joining five other bloggers on the Organix Junk Buster panel. It feels like a pivotal moment for the debate, as the kids’ snack industry gets bigger and bigger with more and more brands trying to get a slice of the kid snack-shaped pie and launch their own baby and toddler snack foods.
But with all this choice comes a little more confusion and you might be surprised (and concerned) to hear that this is an industry that isn’t as heavily regulated as you might think.
For example, did you know that some baby finger foods and toddler snacks contain almost the same level of salt as a regular bag of adult crisps?
Did you know that extra salt is sometimes added to baby and toddler snacks to boost flavour?
Did you know that some of the foods sold in the baby aisle aren’t protected by regulations?
Nope, me neither. Until recently, that is. And we’re not alone. 76% of parents questioned in a survey by Organix said they were shocked to discover some baby and toddler snacks contain up to 30 separate ingredients.
It seems, as parents, we’ve had the wool pulled over our eyes, duped by pretty packaging and statements like “nutritionist approved”. We’ve been buying foods that might be damaging for our children, without even realising it.
Now I’ve held my hand up in the past and admitted that I’m not averse to the odd fishfinger. My kids refuse kale and I’ve never been able to successfully stuff a courgette in a muffin.
However, we love food, cook from scratch 99% of the time and I get mad at the idea that in the past I’ve spent my hard earned money on snacks that I thought were healthy when in fact they were anything but. At least chocolate and ice-cream is honest in it’s sugar content!
I was recently discussing this very matter on BBC Radio Devon (you can listen to the interview here) and explained that one of the things that really grinds my gears as a parent is the fact that in some places we’re seemingly overwhelmed by healthy choices for our kids but in others there’s simply no option. And when we THINK we’ve got lots of choice and we’re making the best decisions, we might not be, because of misleading claims and lack of regulation. We can’t win.
Throughout the year I’m going to be on a junk busting mission to find out more about the kid snack industry and do some investigations of my own when it comes to what’s in the baby and toddler aisle. I’ll be looking at what things like “natural”, “no artificial ingredients” and “nutritionist approved” really mean and if we can really trust them. I’m already expecting to be surprised (and possibly cross) by the results.
I already know, from working with Organix in the past, that the brand carries a No Junk Promise. This is one place where you can be guaranteed the packaging is telling the truth. There are no added nasties, no long lists of ingredients and no added salt. But how does the industry as a whole compare? This is what I’ll be finding out.
I’m not the only mum on a mission. TV mum Cherry Healey is also working with Organix on this – you can see how she’s got on so far in this video…
If any of this has made you concerned about what’s in your own supermarket trolley then there are some simple things you can do to combat the confusion:
- Avoid foods with a really long list of ingredients
- Avoid foods with added salt, sugar or flavourings
- Avoid foods with unrecognisable ingredients (the simpler the better)
- Look for the organic logo – if you see this you can feel sure what you’re buying has been made to the highest standards.
That’s it for now. Expect more blog posts and videos on the subject to come. In the meantime, can you share with me your own investigations?
Have you found anything on the baby food aisle which has surprised or shocked you, now you know that things might not be as transparent as you thought?
To find out more about how I work with brands check out my Work With Me page.