Baby steps: Ajishoya looks to train healthier children’s palates with new product lines

By Pearly Neo

- Last updated on GMT

Ajishoya believes that it is key to train children to cultivate healthier palates from a formative age in order to develop healthier diets later. ©Ajishoya
Ajishoya believes that it is key to train children to cultivate healthier palates from a formative age in order to develop healthier diets later. ©Ajishoya

Related tags Children Clean label Organic Nutrition

Malaysia-based children’s food brand Ajishoya believes that it is key to train children to cultivate healthier palates from a formative age in order to develop healthier diets later, and has launched various new product lines to aid parents towards this goal.

Ajishoya is a spin-off of popular classic Malaysian snack brand BIKA, with a focus on clean label organic products targeted at infants and young children.

“What we are looking to push with our products is that even with ingredients that are supposedly flavourless, it is possible for these to taste good with just a bit of the right flavour yet not need so much flavour that this impacts children’s taste buds from young,”​ Ajishoya CEO Kelvin Ong told FoodNavigator-Asia​ at the recent ThaiFex-Anuga Asia 2024 trade show.

“The main issue with too much flavour is that children exposed to this from young tend to grow up to be very picky with their foods, so it is very important to train their palates from young during the developmental phase.

“At the same time, it is also important to expose them to a variety of good flavours, and banking on this knowledge we have launched a market-first multi-flavoured rice puffs range – the key here is that we don’t make puffs with multiple fruits in each puff, but instead each puff is a single individual flavour, made with fruit juice and purees.

“This is a key point of differentiation by which we are looking to position ourselves within the market, and across our four different variants of this product, all are multi-flavoured.”

The puffs come in four different mixes from the major fruits blueberries, strawberries, apples, peaches and bananas, and all are sugar-free.

“Nowadays in the children’s foods market, the key is that less is more,”​ he added.

“So the winning combo will be products that have no added sugar, salt, artificial flavours, preservatives, colours and so on, which is what we have adhered to.

“This is the same for our Superfoods rice cereal series as well, but we have increased the functionality here to live up to the superfoods name by using ingredients such as bonito, kale and Chinese yam.

“This is the first savoury product in the market to use Chinese yam, which is very unique to Asia but its benefits are also well-known here so parents will know that this is a good fit for their kids to boost that nutritional value.

“The added superfoods value is that parents no longer need to add extra ingredients to the cereals to improve the nutrition, such as mushrooms or vegetables, as these are already pre-included in the formulation, so the convenience factor is definitely very high.”

Ajishoya mainly markets its products in Hong Kong, China and Vietnam but is now looking to focus on markets closer to home including Malaysia and Singapore.

Nod to noodles

The firm has also developed a single-serve organic somen noodle line for babies that is also enriched with various vegetables in every serve, aiming to help them learn to chew and the development of muscles needed for speech.

“These are individually packed per serving so there is no need to worry about opening a large pack and the remaining amount going off if not used quickly, which is important given that babies don’t eat large quantities at a time usually,”​ he added.

“There is no salt used and our unique technology allows the water the noodles are boiled in to remain clear even after prolonged cooking, as well as preventing expansion of the noodles after exposure to water, so it can maintain that chewiness that is good for babies.”

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