Cargill has announced a new initiative to help food and beverage manufacturers and foodservice operators find formulation solutions to address the complex challenges associated with improving childhood nutrition.

The well-documented rise of obesity and related health issues among US children is concerning. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), obesity rates among children and teenagers have tripled in the past 30 years. If obesity trends continue, the associated medical costs could rise to an estimated $66 billion annually by 2030.

"Cargill believes that we all have a stake in improving kids' nutrition – families, government, public health organizations and the food and beverage industry," said Pat Bowe, corporate vice president of Cargill's Food Ingredients & Systems businesses. "With this initiative, we are focusing resources to help customers develop formulations with less trans and saturated fat, sugar and sodium, and more whole grains, fiber and protein. Customers have an opportunity to offer healthier choices and meet new childhood nutrition guidelines and standards such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) school meal program requirements, as well as recommendations from industry organizations such as the Children's Food & Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), Disney, and retailers including Walmart."

In support of this initiative, Cargill is launching to provide ideas for solving formulation challenges associated with creating kids' products that are healthier and taste great. The website was designed to connect food makers with updates on nutrition news, government policy, stakeholder actions, and consumer trends shaping the rapidly changing landscape surrounding childhood nutrition.

"The U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend dietary patterns that support good health and set out the 'what' and 'why' of child nutrition, but it will take industry to provide the 'how,'" said Dr. Robert Murray, MD, a pediatrician and professor in the Department of Human Nutrition, The Ohio State University. "Very few companies have the experience, expertise and breadth of Cargill to help lead the food industry through reformulation toward our shared national goal: items of high nutritional quality that retain taste, value and convenience for families."