Growing up with grains: Nestle India says traditional ingredients in children’s foods key to boosting parent confidence
Marketed under the popular children-focused CEREGROW brand, the new sub brand is dubbed CEREGROW Grain Selection and has a strong focus on the use of traditional Indian ingredients such as ragi (finger millet) as opposed to wheat and ghee (clarified butter).
According to Nestle India, the use of such traditional Indian food ingredients has become a rising trend in the country, and a mark of good nutrition in the eyes of parents seeking out better food and beverage choices for their children.
“After the pandemic, parents are now increasingly looking for ways to integrate traditional ingredients and recipes into their children’s diets [to provide that added] confidence of assured nutrition,” Nestle India Head of Nutrition Business Vineet Singh told FoodNavigator-Asia.
“The new CEREGROW Grain Selection [builds on this trend], aiming to help parents incorporate traditional Indian ingredients such as ragi, ghee and mixed fruits into their toddlers’ diets in a format that is both nutritious and tasty.
“[The use of millets] is an ode to rediscovering the value of these grains, which have been an integral component of India’s food basket for many years – so much so that 2023 has already been declared the International Year of Millets.”
He stressed that there is also a sustainability component to this, as millets are known to be better for the environment compared to common grains such as wheat.
“Ragi is known to require less water for cultivation and is good for sustainable agriculture [which is why we selected it as a good follow-up to the original] Nestlé CEREGROW Multigrain Cereals with Milk & Fruit, which was one of our most successful launches in the recent past,” he said.
The new range will be made available in all major retail stores and online platforms across India in the coming weeks.
Nestle India’s child nutrition focus
Nestle India has been focusing a lot of investment into the children’s food and beverage segment as of late, not only with this new launch but also bringing in well-known children’s brand Gerber to target children between two and six years of age and the establishment of various online resources targeting this area.
One example is the AskNestle website which has been set up to ‘answer all queries related to child nutrition’ in India, utilising what Nestle claims to be India’s first AI Assistant NINA (short for Nestle Indian Nutrition Assistant) which was built in partnership with Google.
Within the website, parent consumers are also given advice on custom meal planning that is tailored according to geographical region and any food allergies, a food diary/calculator with the ability to generate a daily nutrition score based on the child’s daily food intake, as well as a growth tracker to track progress and health based on data from the Indian Academy of Pediatrics.
“This platform aims to further strengthen Nestlé’s credentials as a Nutrition Expert and deepen trust with consumers and stakeholders in India,” said the firm via a separate statement.
In addition, Nestle India has also launched a mytoddler website to bring together all its children-focused brands and products under one roof, allowing consumers across India to determine the right products for children in different age groups to obtain the necessary nutrition.