The Wiggles expand from food hints to a food range

Posted by AFN Staff Writers on 2nd July 2012

The musical group, The Wiggles, which began in Australia and has become an international phenomenon singing to children around the world, has just released its own food range. The concept is not just a case of clever merchandising but follows a 20-year pattern of encouraging children to eat healthily.

The Wiggles has teamed up with New Zealand health food and supplement manufacturer Healtheries to launch a new range of foods targeting the preschool market.

The range includes meals with “hidden veggies” and products with a focus on a mix of wholegrain ingredients, all-natural colours and flavours, and sensible portion sizes for one- to five-year-old children.

The range is marketed with a “thumbs up” system of labelling, which is a parent and child-friendly form of nutritional “traffic lights”: Two Thumbs suggest “everyday” consumption; One Thumb “sometimes”; and No Thumbs indicate “occasional foods”.

“The fun form of labelling is also designed to help parents engage their children in conversations about healthy balanced diets,” a representative for Healtheries and The Wiggles said.

Accredited Practising Dietician Dr Fiona Pelly is the expert who has designed the “Wiggles’ Nutrition Criteria” for childrens’ food,  and she wants to ensure that any food product carrying the Wiggles name contributes positively to the nutritional requirements of one to five year olds.

In conjunction with the “Nutritional Criteria”, Dr Pelly has also led a team in the development and review of The Wiggles’ “Nutrition Guidelines for Children’s Foods”. These Guidelines stipulate that all products in The Wiggles’ food range must contribute to nutrient requirements of young children, meet criteria for saturated and trans fat, and for added sugar and sodium, and be a suitable serve size for young children.

Dr Pelly is also the author of an imminent article, to be published in a peer-reviewed journal about her study titled ‘Choice In Young Children: The Influence of The Wiggles’. The article investigates factors influencing food choice for one- to five-year-old children as reported by 12,000 parents and carers.

Dr Pelly said when it comes to fussy toddlers it is important to make every mouthful count.  “Parents often only include vegetables at the evening meal, but to ensure an adequate and varied intake, it’s important to offer vegetables in snacks and meals throughout the day,” Dr Pelly said.