Variety and content of commercial infant and toddler vegetable products manufactured and sold in the United States

Kameron J. Moding, Mackenzie J. Ferrante, Laura L. Bellows, Alyssa J. Bakke, John E. Hayes, Susan L. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background Exposure to vegetable flavors during infancy and toddlerhood is hypothesized to enhance vegetable acceptance when children transition to table foods. Objective We sought to examine the vegetable types, ingredients, and nutrient contents of vegetable-containing infant and toddler foods (ITFs) manufactured and sold in the United States. Design A database of ITFs that contain vegetables (n = 548) was compiled from websites of companies based in the United States (n = 24). Product information was recorded, including intended age or stage, ingredient lists, and selected nutrients from the Nutrition Facts label. Ingredient lists were used to categorize vegetables using the USDA vegetable categories: dark green (e.g., spinach), red and orange (e.g., carrots), starchy (e.g., green peas, corn), beans and peas (e.g., black beans), and other (e.g., green beans, beets). Furthermore, products were categorized as single-vegetable, multi-vegetable, vegetable and fruit, vegetable and meat, or vegetable and other combinations (e.g., grains and and or dairy). Nutrients were examined, including energy (kilocalories), carbohydrates, fiber, and total sugars [per serving, per 100 g, per reference amount customarily consumed (RACC), and percentage of kilocalories from sugars]. Results Of the 548 vegetable products, only 52 single-vegetable products (9.5%) were identified, none of which contained dark green vegetables or beans and peas. Red and orange vegetables most often appeared as the first ingredient (23.7%) compared to other vegetable types, such as dark green vegetables, which were rarely listed first (1.1%). Fruits were listed as the first ingredient more commonly than all vegetables (37.8%). One-way ANOVA revealed that vegetable and fruit products contained more sugars on average than did vegetable products with other ingredients, such as dairy and/or grains (all P values < 0.001). Conclusions Current available products do not provide caregivers with a sufficient variety of single-vegetable products or products containing dark green vegetables to facilitate children's subsequent acceptance of these vegetables. Guidance should include making caregivers aware of the limitations of commercial ITFs manufactured and sold in the US market.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)576-583
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Volume107
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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