Startup launches 'first food-based brain nutrition brand' for kids
Brainiac Kids, said to be the first line of kids' yogurt designed to support developing brains, is now at H-E-B locations in Texas and is launching online this month, according to a release from San Francisco-based Ingenuity Brands.
The whole-milk yogurt line comes in four flavors — Strawberry Banana, Strawberry, Mixed Berry and Cherry Vanilla — and contains a blend of omega-3s and choline, which the company said supports childhood brain development. The products have 40% less sugar and 50% more protein than the leading kids' yogurt, the release said, and three strains of live cultures. They are non-GMO, gluten-free, kosher, contain no artificial ingredients and use milk from cows not treated with rBST.
"Our kids' brains continue to develop after those first critical 1,000 days ― and we need good, kid-friendly foods to nurture developing brains throughout their childhood and teen years," Jonathan Wolfson, founder and CEO of Ingenuity Brands, said in the release. "These nutritional challenges presented an opportunity to create a food brand from the ground up, focused on brain nutrition and launched with yogurts that are not only delicious and fun for kids, but also help to feed their brains and close the nutrient gap."
Brainiac Kids will be offering whole-milk yogurts, tubes and drinks on a brain drink platform, and the company claims to be the first to do so. This marketing approach will no doubt resonate with many parents who want to see their children's health — including their brains — enhanced in any functionally nutritious way possible. Having less sugar and more protein than other kids' yogurt brands are two big pluses for the new products, since consumers are increasingly turning away from sugary snacks and looking for protein in their foods and beverages.
Ingenuity Brands, started by two former TerraVia executives, said the Brainaic line will support brain health for young children into adolescence, while most other nutrient-enriched products such as baby formula, are designed solely for infants. Wolfson told Food Navigator that his conversations with pediatricians, neurologists and nutrition scientists made it clear that children's brains are still rapidly developing after infancy.
Brainaic Kids may be on to something with its brain health nutrition claims. Studies have shown nutrition can bolster academic performance in school-aged children and help them attain their mental and cognitive potential. Micronutrients that can be important to learning and brain performance include omega-3, thiamin and vitamin B6.
It's not clear whether any other companies are offering kids' products with specific brain-building claims. But other major yogurt brands coming out with products designed for kids include Danone, which has its Danimals line, and Chobani, which just debuted Chobani Gimmies in December.
These yogurt products need to appeal to kids and not just their parents — even if the latter are doing most of the grocery shopping. While kids have a lot of influence on what parents buy, if they don't like something, they probably aren't going to eat it. That's where marketing comes in. Both Danone and Chobani have made their packaging kid-friendly by featuring appealing characters and activities.
So far, Brainaic Kids is not taking that approach. While their packaging features astronaut-like characters that might attract kids, the wording stresses the product was "Developed by Pediatricians & Neurologists" and that it "Supports Brain Development." If that doesn't do the trick, the company may decide to switch course and go the more kid-friendly marketing route taken by Danone and Chobani.
There could be plenty of other nutritional products coming from Brainaic Kids down the road. In its 2017 trademark filing, the company listed a slew of items it might eventually be getting into besides yogurt. They include infant and toddler formula, meal replacement snacks for medical use for babies, powdered nutritional supplement drink mixes, teething biscuits, teething bars and teething cookies.