Forget Lunchables: Food Pouches Are the Hot New Snack for Kids
It can be tough to get young children to eat nutritious, balanced meals–or even to get them to eat at all. To help combat this problem, companies like Kraft and Nabisco have developed food that is targeted specifically to kids: Lunchables, juice boxes, Teddy Grahams, and Go-Gurt are just a few highly processed, heavily packaged items commonly found in the school cafeteria. And the newest trend in kid cuisine seems to be pouches of pureed food…no utensils or chewing required.
Plum Organics, a California-based company, pioneered the pouches, filled with pureed organic fruits and vegetables, in 2008. Since then, baby food giants like Gerber and Earth’s Best have branched out from traditional jar baby food into portable pouches, which cost almost twice as much as their canned counterparts. The pouches are targeted to kids under 7 years of age.
Neil Grimmer of Plum Organics and his wife came up with a version of the pureed food pouches to get their young daughters to eat while they were at day care all day. The concerned parents discovered that when they pureed the same fruits and vegetables they would normally send along with their daughters, the soft food disappeared much more readily than the whole, tough to chew items.
Grimmer quickly realized that his family’s solution to their daughters’ eating problems may be attractive to other parents for a different reason–convenience. Most families have so many commitments that finding time to sit down and have dinner together is a long-forgotten luxury. For some parents, food pouches ensure that their children are getting proper nutrition without them having to put a lot of time and thought into the process.
“We want to make sure we’re able to move at the right speed, but also do the right thing for our kids,” Grimmer said (NYT).
What are the costs?
What are the costs of being able to feed our children anywhere and everywhere, the moment they begin to feel hungry? Numerous studies have shown that eating a meal together as a family every night benefits kids socially, emotionally, and intellectually. It is also a good opportunity for young kids to sample new foods and expand their palates, rather than just sticking to foods they are already comfortable with. Are convenient meals on the go worth the cost to our families?
Brian Wansink, author of Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think, worries that allowing kids to eat exactly what they want when they want it is “going to create a lot of self-absorbed kids” (NYT).
What do you think? Are pureed food pouches the best option for busy families? Or is family dinnertime a tradition worth preserving? Share your thoughts in the comments.