Commercial foods for early childhood: Australia and New Zealand

Page last updated: 19 May 2022

The Australian Government Department of Health developed this background paper for presentation to the 15th Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation (the Forum, now known as the Food Ministers Meeting) in November 2020. Ministers agreed to refer the matter to FRSC for further consideration and to determine what actions could be explored in the Food Regulation System to improve commercial infant and toddler foods. The Forum also noted the Healthy Food Partnership (HFP) will consider this topic and agreed to the paper being provided to the HFP Executive Committee.

The HFP Executive Committee considered the paper at its March 2021 meeting and has established a Foods for Early Childhood Reference Group to develop industry best practice guidance.

This paper examines the composition and availability of commercially available foods aimed at infants and young children in Australia. Key findings highlight that commercially available products in supermarkets are playing to instinctive preferences for a sweet flavour profile and setting lifelong preferences for sweet foods which is known to be associated with negative health conditions. Large serving sizes may also be driving overconsumption of foods, and packaging foods in pouches could be hindering the physical and cognitive development expected from transitioning to solid foods. Addressing these issues has the potential to translate into long term health outcomes for future generations.

This paper was prepared and finalised in 2020 and was based on evidence available at the time of writing.

Background paper: Commercial foods for early childhood: Australia and New Zealand (PDF 1022 KB)
Background paper: Commercial foods for early childhood: Australia and New Zealand (Word 1110 KB)

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