With the launch of Plant-tastic, baby food giant Gerber forays into plant-based protein for the first time. Organic toddler snack pouches, crunchy snacks, and bowl meals (such as Vegan Mac) are all part of the new seven-item range, which is made with plant-based proteins sourced from beans, legumes, vegetables, and fruit.
The new brand allows Gerber to cash in on the expanding plant-based trend, which according to market research isn’t just for grownups. According to a 2019 poll by Future Market Insights, 81 percent of families with children use plant-based protein in their meals, and 40 percent of parents with children under the age of 18 are incorporating more plant-based foods. The Carbon Trust has certified the Plant-tastic range as a carbon neutral choice, which aids Gerber in meeting its climate goals.
“We hear from parents [that] they want more plant-based protein options that align with their food and climate values… Gerber Plant-tastic offers stage-based nutrition across milestones starting with organic toddler pouches, snacks and meals. We are proud the full range of Plant-tastic products is certified carbon neutral, furthering our commitment to climate forward nutrition,” said Gerber President and CEO Tarun Malkani.
Plant-Based For All Ages
Plant-based diets have been linked to a variety of health benefits, including a lower risk of Type 2 diabetes, certain malignancies, and heart disease, according to research. Eating a plant-based diet is suggested for people of all ages. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, which has 100,000 members and is the largest healthcare organization in the United States, issued its official opinion on plant-based diets in its medical publication in 2016.
“It is the position of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics that appropriately planned vegetarian, including vegan, diets are healthful, nutritionally adequate, and may provide health benefits for the prevention and treatment of certain diseases… These diets are appropriate for all stages of the life cycle, including pregnancy, lactation, infancy, childhood, adolescence, older adulthood, and for athletes,” the Academy stated.
Gerber created the Plant-tastic collection, which includes chickpeas, black beans, navy beans, and lentils, to help infants flourish on a plant-based diet. The new US Dietary Guidelines promote legumes as part of a healthy diet for children under the age of two.
“Many parents of my patients incorporate plant-based options in their own diet and are looking to feed their baby in line with their own food values. For parents looking to incorporate plant-based choices, I advise ‘feeding baby the rainbow’ from a variety of foods… Gerber Plant-tastic foods are made with beans, whole grains and veggies—which are packed with nutrients such as protein and fiber to support [a] baby’s healthy development,” stated Gerber Pediatric Consultant Dr. Whitney Casares.
It is also beneficial to children’s mental health to offer them plant-based protein sources rather than animal products from a psychological aspect. According to a new study from the University of Exeter, infants and children under the age of 11 are more inclined to regard animals of all types as companions than adults who have been trained to believe that certain animals are food while others are companions.
Nestlé’s Plant-Based Protein
Gerber is the latest of Nestlé’s brands to enter the plant-based protein market, having been acquired by the Swiss food giant in 2007. Nestlé CEO Mark Schneider said at a press event in London last year that the business is working to “replace every animal protein out there” with plant-based alternatives.
Nestlé has already taken steps toward that goal by acquiring Sweet Earth, a vegetarian brand known for plant-based meat alternatives Benevolent Bacon, Awesome Burger, and Mindful Chik’n; releasing plant-based proteins such as tuna, shrimp, and eggs under its Garden Gourmet brand in Europe; and investing in startup Sundial Foods to bring skin-on vegan chicken to market. Nestlé is also interested in the growing cellular agriculture industry, and has invested in Israel’s Future Meat Technologies to help it bring its produced meat to market once regulatory clearances are in place.
Source: “GERBER’S NEW BABY FOOD LINE IS ALL ABOUT PLANT PROTEIN” by VegNews
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