Why aren’t there more child-friendly free-from food products?

free-from food

Why aren’t there more child-friendly free-from food products?

Every parent wants the best for their children. And when their child has a food allergy, it’s just one more thing for them to stay on top of. It’s a familiar story up and down the country. Around 7% of children have food allergies – so roughly 1 in 14. So why isn’t there more allergy-free food catered towards them?

That’s something Jess Harris, founder of dairy-free children’s brand Little Bandits, has talked about. While there are plenty of products for people with gluten and dairy allergies and intolerances, very few are aimed at children.

A gap in the market

Speaking with Food Navigator, Jess Harris talked about her frustration at the lack of choice. It’s this gap that pushed her to make something herself. She specifically pointed out the lack of healthy free-from products for kids.

Talking about her son Jonah, Jess spoke about how she found it hard to find “food he loved to eat that was also healthy and great tasting”. Catering to a food allergy already means you have to readjust your child’s diet so they don’t miss out on nutrients. But beyond that, Jess didn’t want Jonah to miss out on “fun, convenient treat”. So she set out to make her own.

Now, her coconut-based yoghurts can be found at 157 Asda stores across the UK. As well as appealing to those with dairy difficulties, they are great for people on a plant-based diet or parents who want treats with less sugar in them.

It’s clear there’s demand for more like this. While talking with Asda, Jess learnt that her product was something they had wanted for a while. She plans on taking it even further, with more products in the Little Bandits line. Her goal is to have a range of food perfect for the school lunch box – things kids love to eat.

Why isn’t there more?

To see just how lacking the choice was, we took to Asda’s website to see what they had on offer. They have a well-stocked selection of free-from food, but we were looking for anything that caters specifically to children. And, as Jess alluded to, we found there wasn’t much choice.

In dairy-free food, we found 8 options amongst the 59 items. Though these came from just two distinct brands, with different flavours of their products. In gluten-free food, we found even less choice. There were only 7 options in a list of 428 items – many of which were cereal you could argue are more popular with children.

The vast majority of the products are aimed at adults, with very few bright colours and appealing graphics. Hopefully, Jess’s push to create more child-friendly free-from products will lead to more being created. Like we said at the beginning, parents want what’s best for their children. And healthy food that respects their allergies might just be top of that list.

If you ever have any worries about your child’s allergies, get in touch with one of our allergy specialists. We can advise you on the best course of action to help keep your child healthy. To find out more, visit our website or get in touch on 02031 433 449.

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