Children are a hugely lucrative market. With the right food marketing strategy, you can target moms with babies, or kids themselves, and get them to buy your product. And then there’s the coveted ‘toddler’ market. It’s a niche no one wants to miss out on.
Regulations governing food marketing to children are pretty lax. There are virtually no restrictions on the amount of food that can be marketed to children. The only regulation stipulating what has to be labeled on food products is that they have to be “edible” and “safe”. That’s it.
So who enforces these regulations? Believe it or not, the Federal Government. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has the power to shut down a business if it finds that it has marketed food to children that are “adulterated”. That’s a fancy word for “contaminated”. Essentially, if the FDA determines that your product is contaminated with something that could make them sick, then they can slap a stop order on your product. Yikes! But let’s get back to the topic at hand…
Why Should You Care About Food Regulations?
The short answer is safety. The long answer is consumer protection. The FDA regulates food, drug, and cosmetics manufacturers in order to ensure that their manufacturing processes are up to par, and that the products being sold reflect this. They also regulate to make sure that consumers are getting what they expect, and that impurities and contaminants are not present in the products. The FDA is very strict about these matters.
If they suspect that a product is not safe or is potentially unsafe, then they will ensure that it does not reach market. They may also require additional testing or research before they deem a product safe, or they may simply refuse to approve a product that they believe to be unsafe. In any case, the onus is on you, the manufacturer, to prove that your product is safe. If you can’t, then it’s back to the drawing board.
What Does This Mean For You As A Food Manufacturer?
It means that you must adhere to safe food handling practices and ensure that your product is safe. If you want to market food products to children, then you must take extra care in ensuring that those products are both safe and nutritious. The general rule of thumb is: follow all the proper food handling procedures, use only reputable suppliers for your raw materials, and always read the ingredient lists carefully.
It also means that if you want to make changes to your existing product, you must first get approval from the FDA. You cannot simply alter a formula and say that your product is now “FDA approved”. You have to prove it to be safe, and if it is, then great! If not, then you’ll need to start from scratch and submit an application for approval.