According to the CDC National Center for Health Statistics, almost 20% of children in the United States are obese, with sugar being the main culprit. The average American consumes 17 teaspoons of sugar per day, mostly from processed and ready-to-eat foods. To address this health crisis, former first lady Michelle Obama has joined PLEZi Nutrition as co-founder and strategic partner. PLEZi Nutrition is a food company that aims to provide healthy drinks and snacks for kids and transform the entire food industry. The company's first launch is a line of four fruit drinks that contain only 6g of sugar per serving and no added sugar. The brand's drinks contain stevia leaf extract and monk fruit extract, two popular sweeteners that spark controversy when debating whether or not they actually represent healthy alternatives. According to Obama, the rationale behind this formula choice was to gradually adjust kids' palates to crave less sugar overall. The brand also added potassium and fiber to the formula to provide kids with valuable nutrients.
PLEZi Nutrition is focused on optimizing its distribution to be both affordable and accessible, thus facilitating the transition to children eating healthier diets regardless of their families' income and background. The brand is currently available at Target, Sprouts, and Walmart.com. PLEZi plans to expand its retail footprint and product line to offer a variety of healthy drinks and snacks for children.
While there is still a long way to go for shoppers to make better food choices, education is expected to play a prevalent role. Reading nutrition labels or learning to properly identify sources of hidden sugar will surely help shift consumption choices. A study by McKinsey showed that 70% of consumers want to be healthier, with 44% of US respondents claiming to have reduced their consumption of sugar in 2022.
Food and beverage manufacturers should need no further convincing to get on board with the evolution towards healthy eating. The pandemic has accelerated consciousness around health and wellness, driving grocery retailers to slowly embrace new shopper preferences by welcoming brands that can showcase products with healthier formulas and claims on their shelves. PLEZi's objective is to challenge all companies to do better than them and out-innovate them.