Money ‘wasted’ on toddler milks
Wednesday 21st August 2013, 12:11AM BST.
Parents could be wasting hundreds of pounds on “unnecessary” toddler milks that can contain more sugar and less calcium than cows’ milk, consumer group Which? said.
It found almost half of mothers with a child over the age of one (46%) use toddler, or “growing up”, milk, despite health professionals regularly advising parents that a healthy diet including cows’ milk provides a young child’s required nutrition.
Which? said parents could save at least £500 a year by switching from ready-to-serve toddler milk, costing around £593 a year, to cows’ milk, which costs £62.
Government advice is that toddler milk is unnecessary as children can drink cows’ milk from the age of one.
A comparison found that full fat cows’ milk contains less sugar – 4.7g per 100ml – than Hipp Organic combiotic growing up milk powder, at 7.9g.
The study also found cows’ milk contains higher levels of calcium – 122mg per 100ml – than Apatamil 1yr+ growing up milk powder and Cow & Gate 1-2 yrs growing up milk powder, which both contain 86mg.
The report said toddler milks contain more iron and vitamin D than cows’ milk, but these nutrients could be obtained from a child’s diet and a multivitamin that contains vitamin A, C and D.
Unlike infant formula, toddler milks are not covered by specific legislation on ingredients.
According to Which?, the formula market is worth around £359 million a year, with toddler milks the fastest growing sector.
Which? executive director Richard Lloyd said: “At a time when so many household budgets are severely squeezed, parents could be saving hundreds of pounds on toddler milks that the Government says are unnecessary.
“Ministers should make their advice much clearer and introduce guidance on the ingredients of toddler milks, including the level of sugar and calcium.”
- Which? surveyed 727 mothers with children under three years between November 8 and December 6.
“If a toddler is a fussy eater or their intake of iron-containing foods such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, lentils and fortified foods such as breakfast cereals is limited, then they could very well benefit from the continued use of a formula milk such as a growing-up milk after one year.
“The only form of sugar in Hipp Organic Combiotic growing up milk is lactose, naturally occurring milk sugar. No other sugars are added to the Hipp formula milk.”
Roger Clarke, director general of the British Specialist Nutrition Association, which represents manufacturers of specialist nutrition products, said: “Toddler milks are specially made for young children, combining the overall benefits of milk with the addition of essential nutrients including vitamin D and iron not normally found in whole cows’ milk.
“Many toddlers are not getting the nutrients they need from their diet. A survey commissioned for the Government in 2011 showed that toddlers in the UK do not receive enough vitamin D and iron.
“Toddler milk is a convenient and healthy way to provide essential nutrients to toddlers, particularly as vitamin drops are not widely used by parents for infants aged 12 to 18 months.
“Toddler milks also contain around half the amount of protein than cow’s milk, 60% less sodium and less saturated fat than cows’ milk. There is emerging evidence to support a reduction of protein in young children’s diets.
“Toddler milks adhere to strict European regulations and do not contain added sugars. They contain lactose, the sugar naturally present in cows’ milk and breast milk, which is ‘teeth neutral’ due to the protective factors in milk.”