There aren’t many babies who haven’t enjoyed an Organix cereal bar, rice cake or packet of puffs. Now Organix is expanding into healthy snacks for older children, with the launch of its new range Punk’d. Emily Day, Food Development Manager at Organix, is responsible for creating the new range, so we asked her how she turned the idea into reality.
We’re full of ideas for new foods, it’s one of the really exciting things about my job. For years we’ve thought about how we can apply all we’ve learnt from making baby foods into cooking up ideas for food that mums and dads can give to their children as they grow up.
Our inspiration is parents. We want to create foods that parents want and need, so a big part of my job is talking to mums and dads. We believe it’s our responsibility as the food industry to help parents, by providing good healthy choices. We found mums are struggling to find healthy snacks for children as they get older, and they’re concerned about the junk in children’s food, and that’s what really convinced us to get into the kitchen and make Punk’d happen.
We decided to start with cereal bars, as it’s one of the biggest selling snacks for kids – and there’s lots of bars out there that are pretty full of junk. Developing it has been quite a speedy process, it’s taken about eight months – compared to an average food development timescale of between 18 months to two years.
Of course there were lots of food regulations we needed to meet, and we also have our own very strict standards we work to, we call it our No Junk Promise. It means we always use organic ingredients and no junk to ensure we produce the best food possible – for parents it’s a stamp of reassurance.
We only ever use a small number of ingredients in our foods, we won’t use any hidden cheap ingredients, no flavourings or colourings – “natural” or otherwise – no artificial sweeteners and no added salt. We like to make life difficult for ourselves! That means no compromises or short cuts. So a big part of my job is finding the ingredients that will work – making sure we can get enough of them, so that the food will be affordable – and of course trying them all to make sure they taste great!
We tried around 20 different kitchen recipes for the bars, before narrowing it down to get the right soft texture and developing the flavours, which we researched with mums. We’ve chosen two flavours – Cocoa & Orange Crash (my favourite!) and Strawberry & Vanilla Smash, and we already have a third flavour in the pipeline!
The result is a bar made with real recognisable ingredients, great taste and absolutely no junk! Of course there’s lots of rigorous testing to be done too before we get into producing them or get anywhere near the shops, including food safety, shelf life and nutrition.
Once my job’s done the marketing team work their magic, so they’ve wrapped Punk’d up in bold, bright and colourful packs, so it’s cool for kids to eat.