Introducing the FOOD FOR KIDS 2020 virtual summit: From kids and the plant-based trend to dietary guidelines for infants and toddlers

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By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Food for kids

School closures – and tentative re-openings – have compounded stress levels for families, while COVID-19-induced economic anxiety is also straining household budgets. So how can food and beverage brands come up with enticing – but affordable – recipes, products and culinary solutions to make life easier for parents when long-established routines have been upended?

What does the ‘new normal’ look like for families and has this crisis given a boost to direct to consumer brands targeting babies, toddlers, and young children? Will the recent growth in interest in kids’ multivitamins continue, or is it risky to assume that buying patterns in 2020 provide a useful indicator of where consumers are heading in 2021?

Are Beyond Burgers and oatmilk lattes just for adults, or is there an opportunity to reach the whole family with plant-based meat, dairy, and egg products? And if so, should brands attempt to match the nutritional profiles of their animal-based counterparts?

What can we expect from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans this fall, which for the first time will make recommendations for children under the age of two?

Join the conversation at the third FOOD FOR KIDS summit​,​ an online series (five events over five weeks) virtually bringing together stakeholders from across the industry to present and discuss what kids are eating, how habits and diets have changed, and how brands can deliver affordable, nutritious products that kids want to eat, and parents can feel good about buying.  

Checkout the speakers HERE​ and the program below, and register here​:

FOOD FOR KIDS week #1 (Weds Oct 21, 10am PT): The consumer panel​​


We open FOOD FOR KIDS with a presentation from David Lemley, ​​founder at Retail Voodoo​, who is going to explore: ​

  • How to appeal to parents for specific cohorts/age groups including: babies, tots, kids, tweens and teens.
  • How to understand how each cohort/age group influences purchase decisions and repurchases.
  • How to understand the brand/product stretch and breaking points for each age group
  • How to use this information to develop your brand and brand communications to help drive trial, velocity, and raving fans

We’ll then bring together a panel of parents from across the country for a lively interactive video discussion exploring some pain points they experience when it comes to feeding their kids.

Which meals or day parts do parents find the most challenging when it comes to finding something that’s easy, affordable, healthy, AND appealing to feed to their kids? What do they look for – or avoid – on product labels? We’ll also look at how coronavirus and school closures changed cooking habits, food choices, and how and where they shop for food.

FOOD FOR KIDS week #2 (Weds Oct 28, 10am PT): Kids and the plant-based trend​ ​​ 


Plant-based meat, dairy and egg products are gaining traction, from the next generation of burgers and nuggets to oat milk lattes.

But are these just for adults? Where is the opportunity in plant-based for kids, from a new generation of ‘hybrid’ products combining meat and plants, to new plant-based milks with added protein and DHA?

This session opens with a short presentation from Kyle Gaan, research analyst at The Good Food Institute​,​ who is going to share some insights into kids and the plant-based trend, before we have our main panel discussion featuring:

  • Adam Lowry​​, co-founder and co-CEO, Ripple Foods​​ 
  • Kristie Middleton​​, VP business development, Rebellyous Foods​​
  • Hema Reddy ​​founder and CEO, Crafty Counter (Wundernuggets) ​​
  • Marlena Hidlay, ​early life nutrition segment lead, DSM North America
  • Mark Fahlin,​ business development manager, Cargill

The session closes with a presentation from Marlena Hidlay at DSM, entitled 'Plant-Based and Power Packed Kids,' exploring the market opportunity for plant-based foods for kids, nutrient gaps, and what parents are looking for.

FOOD FOR KIDS week #3 (Weds Nov 4, 10am PT): Kids’ beverage trends​  ​​


Kids are drinking less milk and juice as they get older, but what are they drinking instead, and is it good for them? How do parents evaluate what types of drinks are good for kids? What are parents looking for on food labels?  Our expert panel will look at how best to position kids’ beverage brands, and explore:

  • What are young children drinking vs what should they be drinking?
  • What’s the sweet spot for sugar levels in beverages that kids enjoy, and parents can feel good about?
  • What flavors do kids like?
  • What’s the size of the kids’ beverage market and what’s happening in the category?
  • Nutrition and formulation: What are parents looking for and avoiding in beverages targeting children?
  • Marketing and branding: How do you position a kids’ beverage brand?   


  • Danny Stepper,​ CEO and co-founder, LA. Libations
  • Tom Burkemper,​ senior directorWalgreens
  • Melanie Kahn​​, founder, Poppilu​​ 
  • Billy Bosch, ​founder and CEO, Iconic Protein  ​​
  • Brinjal Patel, ​consumer insights manager for refreshment beverages, Kraft Heinz (Creative Roots) 
  • Andrew Ohmes, ​global stevia business leader, Cargill ​​and Carla Saunders​Senior Marketing Manager, Cargill 
  • Jennifer Pomeranz​​, assistant professor, Department of Public Health Policy and Management, New York University  ​

FOOD FOR KIDS week #4 (Weds Nov 11, 10am PT). Meet the trailblazers!​​


The three winners​ of FoodNavigator-USA’s annual trailblazers challenge​ (CHUM Fruit Bites, Good Feeding, and Mission MightyMe) will present their kid-focused innovations for feedback on their products, branding, go-to-market strategies and business models from our expert panel:

  • Jon Sebastiani​​, founder and CEO, Sonoma Brands​​; founder, KRAVE Jerky  ​​
  • Brad Barnhorn​​, board member and advisor, growth stage food & beverage companies 
  • Mark Rampolla​​, partner, Powerplant Ventures​​; founder, ZICO Coconut Water ​​

Liz Crawford will then moderate a session with Jon, Mark and Brad exploring the investment landscape for emerging brands, and where they see some white space in the kids’ food category.

FOOD FOR KIDS week #5 (Weds Nov 18, 10am PT): Meeting children’s nutritional needs, from foods to supplements​  


What key nutrients do kids need from the first 1,000 days (conception to two years) to early childhood and the teen years, and what nutritional gaps should caretakers consider? What is the most effective way to meet children's nutritional needs -- is it through supplements, fortified food or threats that they can't watch TV until they eat their broccoli? How do the diets of expecting and breastfeeding women impact children, and what can they do to set kids up for a healthy future? 

  • Erin Quann, PhD, RD, ​head of medical affairs, Nestlé Nutrition/Gerber ​​
  • Dr Shelley Balanko​, senior vice president, The Hartman Group 
  • Dr Jennifer Harris​​, senior research advisor, Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity​​
  • Natasha Bonhomme,​ director, Expecting Health
  • Eric Ciappio, ​technical sales manager, IFF Health
  • Dr Sonia Hartunian-Sowa​, director of nutrition, science and advocacy, DSM North America

FOOD FOR KIDS is sponsored by: ​​DSM, IFF Health, Cargill, Curion, and Sweegen.

For full details, and to register, CLICK HERE.

OCT 21 - NOV 18, 2020     FIVE ONLINE EVENTS

Take a deep dive into the trends & companies shaping the future of kids’ foods

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