The rising incidence of allergies in children has elicited different approaches from manufacturers.

US- based Inspired Start has introduced a range of baby food pouches which were designed to prevent the onset of allergies in children by introducing minute amounts of common food allergens — like peanut, egg, tree nut, and soy — to a child who is just starting to eat solid foods.

There is an ever-growing cohort of children unable to consume a number of common products without the risk of an allergic reaction which could vary from an inconvenient runny nose to the infinitely more threatening anaphylactic shock.

According to research carried out by Guy’s and St Thomas’  NHS Foundation Trust – 21 million adults in the UK have at least one allergy whilst half of children and under-18s have one or more allergies.

Some 6-8% of children under the age of three are affected by food allergies – a dramatic rise since 1990, and no-one really knows why. There are suggestions varying from cleaner homes to increased use of paracetamol, or even changing diets.  It is not just the UK though:  the numbers of those suffering from allergies are growing in all westernised countries, as well as places such as China.

Whilst parents and children with allergies become used to scouring food labels to ensure they don’t inadvertently consume something that could set off a reaction, there has always been a lingering sense of missing out, particularly at party time, when other children are happily diving into the snack bowl or bag of sweet treats.

According to research amongst consumer groups, children with allergies feel excluded at snack and treat times because there are very few products aimed at this area.

The survey found that they – and their families – were desperate to find products that were tasty, convenient, fun and – most importantly – inclusive.

A new snack range which targets this gap – Marty’s –is a result of Danone’s internal innovation accelerator – the Manifesto Innovation Accelerator — in conjunction with consumer groups such as families with allergy sufferers and bloggers whose daily lives are affected by living with allergies. The company notes that the whole process has been both driven by and directed by these consumers, with the result Danone is confident that the end result is a truly inclusive snack,  appealing to those with – and those without — allergies.

Currently the Marty’s range – complete with cartoon character on the packaging – comprises popped chickpea crisps which are free from egg, peanuts and gluten, and are available in three flavours: cheese & onion; barbeque; and ready salted.

A range of sorbets is set to follow later in the year.

Where it will head next depends entirely on where its target consumer leads them – that much Danone has made abundantly clear – but in the meantime at least everyone can join in the party.

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