Convenience key: Australia’s largest organic kids’ snacks range Whole Kids plans APAC expansion
The entire range of Whole Kids’ snacks, which comprise over 50 product varieties, are certified organic, additive free and allergen friendly.
More importantly, in the firm’s attempt to cater to its prime target demographic of mothers and children between six months and ten years of age, it has innovated a variety of products to deliver ‘good quality nutrition’ in a convenient way.
“Convenience is a very important concept to us – we want to ensure our products are convenient for both parents and children,” Whole Kids co-founder Monica Meldrum told FoodNavigator-Asia.
“This has been incorporated into our product innovation, for example our Organic Soft Cereal Biscuits which parents can carry around easily in their bags like a normal biscuit first, then add water, formula, milk or whatever they prefer to make this into a cereal or porridge for the child to eat when it’s mealtime.”
She emphasised that taste is also very important when it comes to making products for children, especially those in the younger age group.
“Taste is something that cannot be compromised for kids,” she said.
“In our products, especially for those targeted at children below the age of 12 months, the texture and taste experience are especially key.
“For older children, taste is still important, but more focus is placed on the aspects of convenience, portion sizes, variety and learning.”
Meldrum cited several examples here as the firm’s organic wholegrain puffs shaped as dinosaurs and turtles to encourage kids’ interest in animals, as well as their mini apple and chia biscuits shaped in letters of the alphabet to encourage learning.
“Good quality nutrition here is of course a priority, so apart from being organic, we are also additive free and make use of healthy ingredients such as various whole grains, vegetables, fruits, seeds and more,” she said.
The soft cereal biscuits, puffs and mini biscuits were part of a range of Whole Kids products that were recently launched exclusively in Woolworths, retailing at A$4.00 (US$2.71), A$1.30 (US$0.88) and A$1.30 (US$0.88) respectively.
Other products in this range were the firm’s Organic Probiotic Bites (A$3.25/US$2.20), formulated from just six organic ingredients: dates, pumpkin seeds, dried figs, cocoa powder, vanilla and plant-based probiotics.
Although Meldrum declined to reveal the source of probiotics used for the probiotic bites, the firm’s website states that the strain used is Lactobacillus Bulgaricus, and a separate statement added that the product contains one billion live cultures of this strain.
Apart from Woolworths, Whole Kids’ products are also retailed at Coles supermarkets and Chemist Warehouse in Australia, as well as health foods store Supernature in Singapore and online in China.
“We’re launching in NTUC FairPrice supermarkets in Singapore around the new year, and are also looking at supermarkets in Malaysia,” said Meldrum.
“I can’t reveal too many details just yet, but next year we’ll also be drawing up our strategy for the entire Asia Pacific region and how we plan to proceed.”
Meldrum started Whole Kids back in 2005 with her husband James after noticing a gap in the Australian market, which was ‘over-processing’ products for kids.
“Another driving factor for me was to do good via social and environmental projects, which we have worked towards by initiatives such as using a percentage of our revenue, regardless of profit, for such projects,” she said.
One of the firm’s most notable recent social projects include providing 500,000 nutritious meals for school children in Cambodia.
“Whole Kids is also a certified B Corporation, which means we are part of a group of companies that believe profit and purpose can co-exist and businesses are poised to help solve the world’s problems,” she added.
B Corporation status is only awarded to a firm after US-based non-profit B Lab completes assessment of the firm’s impact on its ‘employees, suppliers, community and the environment’ against ‘comprehensive standards for social and environmental performance, ethical behaviour, accountability and transparency’.
Whole Kids also runs the UnjunkIt movement in Australia, which lobbies the government to ban junk food advertising on television before 9pm daily in an effort to prevent child obesity.