According to a new study, led by researchers from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, infant and toddler foods sold in pouches have lower nutritional value than foods sold in jars and other packaging. These findings are published in the current issue of the journal Nutrition Today.
“The high level of sugars in some pouches is potentially concerning because pouches are coming to dominate the market for infant and toddler foods,” said Kameron Moding, PhD, assistant professor of Human Development and Family Studies at Purdue University. “While pouch products are popular and convenient, the nutritional profiles differ from products sold in other packages, particularly with respect to sugars coming from fruits.”
Moding conducted the research for this study as a postdoctoral fellow at CU, working with Susan Johnson, PhD, who is senior author of the article.
Blends of fruits, veggies more commonly sold in pouches
The researchers evaluated the contents of 548 products. Of those, products in pouches totaled 274, nearly twice as many as sold in jars or other packaging, such as trays, that were made by companies based in the United States. These products were reviewed for their ingredients and evaluated for their nutritional content and the age of children targeted to consume the product.
One of the key findings was that pouches more commonly had blends of fruits and vegetables than other packaging types. Pouches also were less likely to contain single vegetable products. Previous studies have indicated that incorporating dark green vegetables into the diets of infants and toddlers is limited perhaps because of a lack of commercially prepared single-vegetable products.
“Since early experiences with flavors and textures of foods may provide the foundation for later food acceptance, it is important to expose infants to a wide variety of flavors, textures, and nutrient-dense foods” said Moding.