Nestlé-owned SMA Nutrition has announced a new addition to its Little Steps infant nutrition range. Plantygrow Growing Up Drink is a plant-based toddler milk drink, suitable for children from age one to three. Tesco and Asda are both confirmed as stockists.
The drink is not an alternative to formula or breast milk but is designed to support a balanced diet. A source of essential vitamins, iron, and calcium, it is suitable as a standalone drink, smoothie base, and cereal accompaniment.
The Growing Up Drink offers an alternative to parents who either choose not to offer animal milk or cannot, due to allergies and intolerances. It has been fortified to support optimal growth in youngsters, with omega-3, omega-6, iodine, vitamin D, and more.
“Consumers are increasingly choosing plant-based milk alternatives for themselves and looking for options that contain the added nutrients their growing toddlers need,” Vicky Woods, SMA Nutrition’s managing director, said in a statement.
She added: “We know that every day toddlers are growing, learning, doing something new, and overcoming little challenges. We want to help support toddlers’ development, as part of a varied and balanced diet, while they have fun and get on with living their best life! Setting them on the right track to a bright future.”
Steering away from animal-based children’s milk drinks
Alpro launched its own plant-based toddler milk, dubbed Growing Up Drink, in 2016. A soya-based sweetened variety came first, with an oat version following soon after. Like Plantygrow, Alpro caters to children aged one to three years old.
SMA’s follow-on-drink contains no added sugars and uses wheat, oat, barley, rye, and corn as the base ingredients.
Can toddlers be vegan?
The biggest concerns surrounding raising vegan children center on growth and bone health. Last year, a sensationalist headline claimed that a vegan diet has negative effects on children. The data the claim was anchored to proved to be inconclusive. A study of 40 children, just six of them vegan, identified lower levels of certain nutrients in the plant-based youngsters. None of the participants had deficiencies.
Nutritionists have previously stated that it is advisable to consult with a family GP before initiating a vegan diet for children. Asking for nutritional advice is highly recommended to all parents, especially as they enter the weaning stage. This is regardless of dietary preferences.
Tesco is currently stocking 200ml cartons of Plantygrow Growing Up Drink. Soon, Asda is set to stock one liter and 200ml cartons.