Availability of low-fat herb dips increases children’s consumption of vegetables, according to a study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
An abstract of the study, published May 22, is online. Researchers with the Center for Childhood Obesity Research at Pennsylvania State University studied 3- to 5-year-olds in a childcare center.
They found that the preschoolers ate significantly more of a previously rejected or disliked vegetable – in this case, celery and squash – with a reduced-fat herb dip than when served alone.
Moreover, only 31% would eat the vegetable by itself, compared to 64% with the dip.
Tristan Simpson, director of marketing and corporate communications at Irwindale, Calif.-based Ready Pac Foods, said the findings were good news for dip-based fresh produce snacks, including items in her company’s Ready Snax line.
“The most fool-proof way to inspire our kids’ intake of fruits and veggies is by introducing snacks that are easy, taste amazing and satisfy both sweet and savory cravings,” Simpson said in a news release.
According to market research firm Mintel, 75% or more of children and teens snack between meals, but innovation in snack foods targeting them dropped 16% from 2008 to 2012. Even so, dairy, fruit and vegetable product launches experienced growth in the period, according to Mintel.