The new kids convenience food on the block
Georgia March explains how The Family Food Co. hopes to eradicate parent guilt and reframe convenience food for children.
Hoping to eradicate parent guilt and reframe convenience food for children, Cherrelle Beckitt has taken matters into her own hands by creating toddler and children’s meal delivery company The Family Food Co. after finding the children’s food market to be nutritionally problematic.
In April 2022, The Family Food Co. used its recently raised £150k funding money to research and test novel products which led to the company pivoting from recipe boxes to frozen meals with sales results proving the demand for even more convenience for parents.
Cherrelle Beckitt’s inspiration
Beckitt’s son Louie suffers from food allergies, which made the already tricky world of weaning even harder to navigate. Her nerves around allergies meant that she cooked everything herself from scratch so that she knew that Louie was eating high quality food that was safe for him.
After experiencing just how much work went into recipe planning, shopping, prepping and cooking meals for her child, she decided that there must be a way to help parents in similar situations.
This led to Beckitt researching the world of convenience food for babies, toddlers and children and discovering the PHE report, which called out some of the big brands in this arena for their misleading marketing messages.
She felt the need to create a fully transparent, trustworthy kids’ food company where parents felt confident that they were feeding their children nutritious food but also educated them on weaning and feeding children.
Building the business
One of her first priorities when beginning her business plan was to secure the collaboration of Lucy Upton, a Paediatric Dietitian, whose role in The Family Food Co. is now vital. As well as approving the recipes for the recipe boxes, Beckitt worked with Upton on developing a resource library of weaning and feeding support factsheets and social media posts, which are accessible to everyone.
Despite making the pivot from recipe boxes to frozen meals, the company’s ethos remains the same.
“Many times throughout our development phase, we’ve been offered cheaper ingredients from suppliers, but I always take myself back to our values and the trust our customers have in us,” said Beckitt.
“I regularly ask myself ‘would I feed this food to Louie?’ If the answer is no, then it’s not good enough. This keeps me focused on sourcing only the best produce from the best local suppliers.”
Why is change needed in the children’s food market?
Beckitt’s company is working to combat the confusion surrounding children’s supermarket food brands. According to recent reports by the British Dental Association (BDA), a survey of 109 children’s food pouches were revealed to contain sugar levels equivalent to 150 percent of a soft drink. The report featured multiple well-known supermarket baby and toddler brands who frequently market themselves as ‘home-cooked’ and ‘child-friendly’, something that misleads parents into thinking they’re feeding their children healthy store-bought products.
With tooth decay now being named the number one reason for hospital admissions among young children, Beckitt wants to show these companies the a new way to create convenience food that omits disingenuous messaging around ‘no added sugar’ claims on children’s food.
According to Action on Sugar, 37 percent of baby sweet snacks could receive a red traffic light-style label for sugar content. Furthermore, a study by the University of Leeds highlighted that only nine percent of children’s yoghurts in supermarkets are actually low in sugar content.
Beckitt’s opinion is that it’s more important now than ever to provide an easy and trustworthy option for busy parents struggling to find spare time to cook nutritious meals from scratch.
Eradicating parent guilt
However, The Family Food Co. has suggested that the fault does not lie with parents, rather with the large corporations who have a duty of care to their shoppers.
Beckitt explained that the The Family Food Co. wanted to help eradicate parent guilt as “in today’s society we’re expected to work, raise children, cook, and clean for our families, but it’s simply not possible.
“Our flash frozen meals lock in all the delicious flavours and nutrients for a balanced meal so you can forget all the hassle that comes with recipe planning and food shopping.”
Beckitt stresses to parents and caregivers that its okay to feed children nutritional convenience meals and noted “it’s easy to get bogged down and feel like a terrible parent when you have to feed your child a ready meal because you’re too exhausted to cook from scratch”.
With The Family Food Co. providing a variety of meals to choose from, Beckitt claims that parents can now feed their children pre-packaged meals “without the guilt and with the knowledge that the convenient food you’re feeding your child is 100 percent balanced and dietitian-approved.”
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