Product Review – Kiwigarden for Kiwi Kids


Today, I am going to review another outstanding, award-winning New Zealand manufacturer of healthy snacks for kids – Kiwigarden. I discovered Kiwigarden’s freeze-dried apple slices when my first son was around 10 months old and I was on a hunt for healthier snack options for him. It was love at first bite! My baby was too little back then to munch on a raw apple so freeze-dried apples were a great no-chocking-hazard alternative. Now he is a three-year-old toddler who still loves these crunchy apple treats!

If you never heard of freProduct Review – Kiwigarden for Kiwi Kids - Healthy Snacks NZeze-dried products you will be thrilled to know that there are no nutrients lost during this modern manufacturing process that involves removing all the water content in the frozen state of the product. Another beauty of freeze-dried products is that they can be easily rehydrated by just adding water to them.
Kiwigarden's freeze-dried fruits, veggies and berries are a flavoursome and crunchy alternative to the traditional produce. There are a few to choose from: sweet corn kernels, peas & corn, apple slices and strawberry slices. All are made from 100% NZ fruits or veggies, nothing else! Another great news is that the clever team from Kiwigarden also make freeze-dried yoghurt drops (dairy and dairy-free) with tummy-loving probiotics. Let us have a better look at the nutritional aspect of these "no nasties", yummy drops. I have used mixed berry flavour as an example:

 

Product Review – Kiwigarden for Kiwi Kids - Healthy Snacks NZ
Yoghurt (43%)*

43% of these yoghurt drops are made from fermented milk product (yoghurt) which is made from pure NZ milk and dairy solids including cultures Acidophilus and Bifidum at minimum 10^6 CFU/g.

Berries (18%)

Boysenberry, blackcurrant, and raspberry are contributed to make 18% of the recipe.

Apple

Used as a healthier alternative to refined white sugar.  A natural sweetener. Please note if you are allergic to apple: Banana & honey yoghurt drops, and Natural Greek yoghurt drops don’t have apple added.

Milk Solids

Pure NZ milk powder that consists of protein, carbohydrates (mainly lactose), and minerals (calcium and phosphorus). It acts as a binder to improve the texture; also adds flavour. 

Raw sugar

An unrefined sugar that provides a sweet taste and deeper flavour.

Honey

Nectar collected by bees that provides some health benefits. You need smaller amounts of honey in comparison with traditional white sugar to achieve the same level of sweetness.

Gelatin

A type of soluble protein that functions as a thickener and helps with the texture and product stability. Gelatin is normally extracted from animal collagen and bones.

Tapioca starch

Gluten-free, bland flavoured thickener made from cassava root.

Acids [citric acid, ascorbic acid]

Natural food additives that are used to boost acidity, enhance flavour, and preserve ingredients improving shelf-life of the product.

Natural antioxidant (mixed tocopherols from soy)

Form of vitamin E that helps to maintain the freshness and shelf life of the product. They are a natural alternative to synthetic antioxidants. 

Product Review – Kiwigarden for Kiwi Kids - Healthy Snacks NZ

As you can see these yoghurt drops are a great, all-natural alternative to lollies, chocolate and other high sugary snacks. As a mum, I try to limit the amount of sugar my kids consume per day.  Not only is sugar detrimental to teeth health, but excess amount also affects kids' behaviour and sleep patterns.

When yoghurt is freeze-dried/dehydrated it becomes quite tangy and sour. To make it palatable for the little humans Kiwigarden gurus must add sweeteners, like apple puree, raw sugar, and honey. Without any sweeteners, the taste will not be enjoyable!

I contacted the manufacture to find the amount of added sugar of Kiwigarden’s yoghurt drops as it might seem from the label that it is reasonably high. In fact,  only 4-6% is added sugar as the bulk of it is natural sugar occurring in dairy (lactose). Below are the amounts of added sugar from total sugar content across the range:

Product Review – Kiwigarden for Kiwi Kids - Healthy Snacks NZ

The Kiwigarden team is currently looking for a better solution to sweeten their drops and have recently launched their NEW dairy-free no refined sugar coconut drops made from 100% Raglan coconut yoghurt. There is also another NEW no added sugar savoury snack, called carrot cheesy bites. Kiwigarden’s long term goal is to transition to no added sugar and more sustainable packaging across the whole range. 

Unfortunately, compostable packaging is not suitable for freeze-dried foods because of the high moisture and oxygen barriers that are required to preserve its crunchy texture and maintain shelf-life. Kiwigarden’s all-natural products if kept in a compostable bag would become soggy very quickly. The current packaging falls under the “soft plastic” category and can be recycled. Recycled soft plastic can be turned into many cool things: tuff buckets, water slides, pots, garden edging, and even benches.     

The bottom line is if you are looking for a healthy treat, snack on-the-go or a lunchbox filler for your toddler or wondering what snack you should give to your baby to help him/her to practice self-feeding and to safely exercise those chewing muscles, Kiwigarden’s products are your answer. By choosing their yummy, all-natural products you are supporting NZ food manufactures and small family businesses that are the backbone of our economy.

Product Review – Kiwigarden for Kiwi Kids - Healthy Snacks NZ
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