Key Interview: Tackling Toddler Nutrition with Whey Protein Products

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13 Feb 2017 --- Since Arla Foods Ingredients (AFI) set their sights on the infant nutrition market, there’s been no stopping them. Now, having already entered the sector with innovating products aimed at toddlers, NutritionInsight caught up with Anne Staudt Kvistgaard, the Head of Sales & Science Development at AFI to discuss both the sector and AFI’s products in more detail. 

Lacprodan ALPHA-10, Capolac, Lacprodan PL-20 and Lacprodan whey protein are the key ingredients that AFI say, “supply the building blocks for continued growth and development of a toddler.”

“We are positioning whey ingredients within the toddler nutrition segment, which is sort of a new thing for us,” Staudt Kvistgaard tells NutritionInsight.

“We’re trying to look at nutrition for the toddlers segment in terms of milk calcium and specifically whey protein.”

Staudt Kvistgaard explains that there are several solutions where skimmed milk powder is used in toddler products, and highlights how AFI are looking to position whey products and ingredients into this segment, due to its higher nutritional value.

“Whey products have higher nutrition value, a better amino acids profile, and can therefore provide something which you cannot get with regular skimmed milk powder,” she explains.

Talking about the needs that AFI s new products fulfill, Staudt Kvistgaard says, “A small child in full development has a small stomach which tends to fill up quite frequently throughout the day. So we wanted to provide some solutions that could secure that it actually got the protein and calcium it needs.”

Staudt Kvistgaard explains that AFI’s approach was to look into the specific solutions for toddlers that already existed, such as fruit pouches, and then look into how they could improve them. 

“We saw that we could have similar solutions, but with whey protein and calcium added. So the nutritional value could be improved in these snacks going from pure fruit based to deliver other key nutrients.”

“We wanted to look at the current range and increase the current nutritional values of those products.”

“For example, adding milk calcium with whey ingredient and protein - this secures that the toddler gets all the calcium its needs to support bone development and development of the teeth.”

Staudt Kvistgaard says that the products are designed for 1-3 year olds, and that convenience and ease of use is key on the product’s list of USPs.

“We’re looking at solutions that fit the child’s nutritional needs, and also the convenience that a lot of parents are requesting.”

“You need something that can be used on the go, for example, to or from nursery.”

She adds, “As a grown up you need 3 basic meals, whereas a toddler needs three smaller main meals and 2 to 3 nutritious snack portions.”

“Our products fulfill the snack need that toddlers require. We are not entering the meals sector its more convenience snack product that can be used to increase nutritional value.”

“There is significant growth in this segment with many new product and launches, so it really is a market with a lot of activity going on both in China, Europe and US. Also parents are becoming more and more aware that you need the right nutrition for children, which is reflected in the market and the many of the products available.”
 
“In Asia regions the use of toddler milk, stage 3 products and onwards, is significant while the market is smaller in Europe within this category.” 

“In Europe we see meal solutions such as porridges and yogurt, along with different kind of snacks in the breakfast segment,” she explains.
 
“Right now we are looking to position whey protein and milk calcium within our identified segments and grow it organically by supporting our customers with applications, so they come to us for solutions within that segment. Be it solutions like bars, bites, fruit pouches, beverages - that sort of thing.”

“It could be beverages, fruit pouches or different kinds of solutions where we can offer support in that area.”

Staudt Kvistgaard adds that promoting the nutritional benefits of whey in these segments is key, and stresses that this is a segment that is in full development. 

“Nutritional awareness is being reflected in the market, and we’re seeing a market growth with more and more solutions which match the lifestyles of today’s consumers. Convenience food is a focus area.”

Staudt Kvistgaard finalizes, “Toddlers nutritional needs are important, so at AFI we are positioning our ingredients in a way that lets us talk about the nutritional values and how we can support our customers in adding nutritional value.”

by Hannah Gardiner

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