Among 11 to 13-year-olds the figure is even higher, at one in five.
Worldwide, the number of obese children and youths of school age has increased over tenfold in 40 years, from 11m to an alarming 124m in 2016. Experts expect a continued increase to 254m obese children and youths aged 5 to 19 by 2030.
To provide food producers with new approaches for healthier children’s products, Hydrosol has expanded its free-from product line. Together with sister companies SternVitamin and OlbrichtArom, the stabilizer company has developed concepts for making sugar- and fat-reduced dairy and deli products designed specifically for the needs of children.
Hydrosol uses hydrocolloids and vegetable fiber to substitute for the beneficial technological properties of sugar and fat. This gives the final products a pleasant texture and familiar mouthfeel. Enrichment with vitamins and minerals from sister company SternVitamin provides added health value. Meanwhile, child-appropriate flavorings from sister company OlbrichtArom give foods the right taste.
The three companies said this results in individual concepts for a diverse range of reformulated final products, whose flavor, texture and nutritional value are aligned with the needs of children.
The focus in the new line is on stabilizing systems for dairy products intended for children aged 5 and above.
Katharina Schäfer, product manager at Hydrosol, said, “In addition to child-friendly flavors and declaration-friendly ingredients, the focus was on improving the nutritional values. Our recommended formulations meet these requirements, and permit the use of various nutritional and health claims, e.g., relating to an intact immune system, normal growth and cognitive development in children.”
After confectionery, dairy products are the second largest category of new products for children aged five to 12. The leaders in this segment, by a large margin, are milk mixed beverages and drinking yogurt, followed by spoonable yogurt, quark desserts, classic milk, ice cream, desserts and processed cheese preparations.
With a flexible system for milk mixed beverages, manufacturers can make milk drinks for children in diverse flavors, from chocolate, vanilla, strawberry and banana, to coconut and caramel. Hydrosol said the stabilizing system prevents sedimentation in even the most difficult cases, even with cocoa, where it keeps the particles suspended.
Also, all the milk and cocoa drinks are sugar- and fat-reduced. They are sources of fiber and can be individually enriched with vitamins and minerals. The same goes for the system for making milk juice drinks. These are sugar-reduced and even fat-free. They also contain fiber, vitamins and minerals. Fermented milk products like yogurt, drinking yogurt and quark desserts can likewise readily be reformulated by reducing the sugar and fat, and enriching them with nutrients.
The concepts for pudding and ice cream can be marketed as ‘treats with health benefits,’ the company said. The functional system for pudding can be used for sugar-reduced, low-fat, fiber-enriched products that are lactose-free and micronutrient-fortified.
The recipe enables marketing communication of EU health claims, for example relating to normal growth and an intact immune system. The clean label system for ice cream forms the basis for a reformulated product with 30% less sugar. The ice cream also has prebiotics that allow it to be declared as high fiber, while the added vitamins and minerals support the normal functioning of the immune system. The final product can be offered as ice cream on a stick or in larger packs.
In the cheese category, Hydrosol has developed a stabilizing system for “squeezable” processed cheese preparations in tubes, pouches and similar soft packaging. The declaration-friendly final product needs no melting salts or table salt. Fifty percent cheese goes into the formulation. Various flavorings like vanilla, banana or strawberry can be used to give the products flavors children like and that provide variety.