Among the new concepts is a 35 g dairy bar that offers the same amount of calcium per serving as a glass of milk, according to AFI, which added the bar is 20% protein and low in calories.
Other solutions include a yogurt bar, and a snack cake with less than 100 calories per serving.
“All [the new products] have been benchmarked against existing kids’ snacks to ensure they represent a superior option in terms of improved nutrition,” the company said.
Optimized energy release
The dairy bar, for example, contains a third less energy than a regular chocolate bar and has optimized energy release as more of the calories come from protein, according to AFI. This would help youngsters feel fuller for longer than they would with confectionery, where more of the energy comes from sugars, the company added.
Research has shown snacks account for about a quarter of the calories American children consume. On average, children consumed 302 calories from snack food per day.
“In tandem with this, there is growing concern over obesity rates among children, which means the role of snacking in their diets is now under greater scrutiny than ever before,” AFI said.
Misconception around snacks
AFI customer marketing manager Kasia Kandulski Lindegaard told BakeryandSnacks that there was sometimes a misconception that snacks can’t be nutritious and at the same time appealing to children.
“Our new dairy-based kids’ snacking solutions show that you can provide something that meets both criteria,” she said.
Lindegaard added that the US children’s snacks market was a growing category that “urgently needs to reinvent itself in order to respond to some major changes”.
And she pointed out that AFI was not only targeting the US, but all food manufacturers who are interested in entering the growing kids’ snack market.
The new solutions have been launched under the company’s Goodness of Dairy campaign, which is designed to highlight how dairy ingredients can tap growing consumer demand for food that is “natural, healthy and delivers great taste and texture”.