Yoghurt pouches for kids


Are squeezy yoghurts for children a healthy choice?

baby eating yoghurt

Squeezy yoghurts: 5 things you should know


Squeezy pouches of yoghurt are ubiquitous in lunchboxes, a favourite of parents needing a convenient snack to feed their children when they're out and about, and extremely popular with kids who love the relative novelty of sucking on the spout and the ease of not having to bother with a spoon. 

But are they healthy?

We bought 38 different yoghurt products, reviewed their ingredients and calculated their Health Star Ratings. The details are shown in the table.

You could certainly do worse than a yoghurt pouch when it comes to a nutritious snack for your child. But before you stock the fridge with enough to give out on a daily basis, here are five things about them you might want to keep in mind. 

1. They all contain added sugar

All of the squeezy yoghurts we looked at contain added sugar, but the positive spin on the product labels might lead you to think otherwise.
  • Taking the Rafferty's Garden product names at face value, you'd reasonably assume they contain just that: "yoghurt, fruit + nothing else". But the ingredients list reveals the yoghurt component is sweetened with sugar.
  • The Calci Yum products carry the claim "25% less sugar", and they are all lower in sugar than other brands. But the "25% less" refers to an average fruit yoghurt, not other squeezy yoghurts. The Calci Yum Banana Yoghurt has only 4% less sugar than a pouch of Rafferty's Garden Yoghurt Apple, Pear & Cinnamon, for example.
  • Just Organic yoghurts (from Aldi) and Gippsland Dairy Mini Organics yoghurts top the list when it comes to sugars, containing 75-97% more sugars than natural yoghurt. The sugar they contain may be organic, but that doesn't make it healthy.

2. Some aren't a good source of calcium

Calcium is a major health drawcard for yoghurts, but we found wide variations in the amount the squeezy products contain – from 93mg up to 300mg per 100g. 

A product is a 'good source of calcium' if a serving of it contains no less than 25% of the recommended dietary intake (RDI) for that mineral, according to the Food Standards Code. 

For babies up to 12 months, for whom the RDI is 270mg per day, all the products we looked at are a good source of calcium. But older kids need more. For 4- to 8-year-olds with an RDI of 700mg per day, only the Calci Yum, Yoplait Petit Miam and Vaalia Kids products, with more than 175mg calcium in each pouch, would be considered a 'good source', according to this definition.

3. Fruit and veg content may not meet expectations

Don't necessarily expect the fruit, veg and flavouring in your yoghurt to be much like the pictures on the label. 
  • Some yoghurts appear to be flavoured with minimally processed real fruit. But the fruit content in others is more like a kind of jam made from fruit purée, water and sugar with thickeners, colours and food acids. You can only tell by looking closely at the ingredients list: if it's not real fruit you'll see something like 'fruit' followed by sugar and other ingredients, all enclosed within brackets.
  • The new veggie squeezy range from Yoplait Petit Miam seems like a great way to sneak extra veggies into your child's diet, but don't get too excited. A standard serve of veg is 75g (or 20g for a baby aged 7-12 months), and the recommended daily intake is 1.5-2 serves (7-12 months), 2-3 serves (1-2 years), 2.5 serves (2-3 years) or 4.5 serves (4-8 years). So the measly 2.8g of veg in each pouch barely scratches the surface. 
  • Vaalia Kids Vanilla Yoghurt shows a picture of a vanilla bean on the pack, but there's no vanilla bean in the ingredients list, just "natural flavours". In fact Five:am and Just Organic from Aldi are the only vanilla yoghurts to contain actual vanilla bean (0.2% and 1% respectively) – the rest just use 'flavour'.

4. Most contain additives

For the most part a container of natural yoghurt from the supermarket will essentially contain two ingredients: milk and live yoghurt cultures. But many other yoghurt products contain additives, and squeezy yoghurts - for the most part - are no exception. You'll see them listed (usually as a number) in the ingredients list, and examples include:
  • Thickeners to make them taste creamy and prevent separation: pectin (440), vegetable gums (406, 410, 415) and starch (1442).
  • Acidity regulators which prevent the acidity of the yoghurt from changing and becoming too acidic (300, 330, 331, 296).
  • Colours and flavours – all "natural" according to the squeezy yoghurts in our review.

5. The benefits of 'live culture' ingredients may be negligible

Some brands make a claim about their yoghurt containing live cultures — usually lactobacilli and bifidobacteria — that are good for your health. While live 'friendly' bacteria can be beneficial for gut health in principle, there's no guarantee that these squeezy yoghurts contain enough of the right bacteria to survive in the yoghurt to colonise the gut.

Our verdict

There's no arguing that squeezy yoghurts are convenient. Many also contain a worthwhile amount of calcium and minimal added sugars, so are a good choice when it comes to packaged snacks for children.

But if you're after great nutrition, and want to avoid unnecessary added sugars, additives and excessive packaging, it's hard to beat regular natural yoghurt. And because you can buy it in 500g or 1kg containers, a comparable serving works out at a fraction of the cost. Topping it with chopped fruit will not only add sweetness, but also the nutritional benefits of whole fruits.

Yoghurt pouches compared

We reviewed 38 kids' yoghurt pouches and calculated their Health Star Ratings. We've listed them below in alphabetical order. To order by another criteria, simply click on the column headings.

Product (pack size) Pack image Health Star Rating (out of 5 stars) Energy (kJ per 100g) Protein (g per 100g) Fat (g per 100g) Saturated fat (g per 100g) Sugars (g per 100g) Calcium (mg per 100g)
Brooklea (Aldi) Yogurt Squishy Banana (70g)
3 373 3.7 1.6 1.1 12.7 213
Brooklea (Aldi) Yogurt Squishy Strawberry (70g) 3 369 3.6 1.6 1.1 12.6 213
Brooklea (Aldi) Yogurt Squishy Tropicana (70g) 3 369 3.7 1.6 1.1 12.5 213
Calci Yum Banana Yoghurt (70g) 4 300 3.9 1.6 1 9.2 269
Calci Yum Fruit Salad Yoghurt (70g) 4.5 290 3.9 1.6 0.9 8.6 268
Calci Yum Strawberry Yoghurt (70 & 120g) 4.5 290 4 1.6 0.9 8.8 269
Calci Yum Vanilla Flavoured Yoghurt (70 & 120g) 4.5 290 3.9 1.6 0.9 8.7 269
Coles Banana Yoghurt (70g) 3 378 4 1.9 1.3 11.8 220
Coles Strawberry Yoghurt (70g) 3.5 371 3.8 1.8 <1 11.9 220
Coles Vanilla Yoghurt (70g) 3 336 3.8 1.7 1.2 11.2 219
Five:am Mixed Berry Organic Yoghurt (120g) 2.5 398 4.4 3.9 2.3 11.6 138
Five:am Strawberry Organic Yoghurt (120g) 2.5 391 4.5 3.9 2.3 11.2 139
Five:am Vanilla Bean Organic Yoghurt (120g) 2.5 401 4.4 3.9 2.3 11.8 138
Gippsland Dairy Mini Organics Yogurt Apple (70g) 3 418 3.4 2.9 1.9 13.5 130
Gippsland Dairy Mini Organics Yogurt Strawberry (70g) 2.5 413 3.4 3.2 1.9 13.8 132
Gippsland Dairy Mini Organics Yogurt Vanilla (70g)
2.5 438 3.4 3 1.9 14.4 133
Just Organic (Aldi) Yogurt Blueberry (70g) 2 473 4.6 4 2.4 14.2 159
Just Organic (Aldi) Yogurt Strawberry (70g) 2 473 4.6 4 2.4 14.2 159
Just Organic (Aldi) Yogurt Vanilla Bean (70g) 2.5 501 4.9 4.2 2.5 15.2 168
Rafferty's Garden Yoghurt Apple, Pear & Cinnamon + nothing else (90g) 2.5 395 4.2 4.7 2.8 10.1 93
Rafferty's Garden Yoghurt Banana, Pear & Mango + nothing else (90g) 2.5 408 4.2 4.7 2.8 10.7 93
Rafferty's Garden Yoghurt Blueberries, Banana & Apple + nothing else (90g) 2.5 416 4.2 4.7 2.8 11.4 93
Rafferty's Garden Yoghurt Watermelon, Strawberry & Apple + nothing else (90g) 2.5 411 4.3 4.7 2.8 11 93
Vaalia Kids Banana Yoghurt (140g) 3 385 4.7 2.5 1.6 12.1 150
Vaalia Kids Strawberry Yoghurt (140g) 3 368 4.6 2.4 1.6 11.1 150
Vaalia Kids Tropical Yoghurt (140g) 3 371 4.6 2.4 1.6 11.3 150
Vaalia Kids Vanilla Yoghurt (140g) 3 378 4.6 2.5 1.6 11.7 150
Woolworths Select Yummy Snacks Strawberry Yoghurt (70g) 3.5 360 4.2 1.6 1 12.4 237
Woolworths Select Yummy Snacks Vanilla Flavoured Yoghurt (70g) 3.5 355 4.1 1.6 1 11.9 219
Yoplait Petit Miam Squeezie Banana Yoghurt (70g) 3 357 3.4 1.8 1.2 11.9 300
Yoplait Petit Miam Squeezie Blueberry Yoghurt (70 & 130g) 3 360 3.3 1.8 1.2 12.2 300
Yoplait Petit Miam Squeezie Fruit Salad Yoghurt (70g) 3 356 3.3 1.8 1.2 11.9 300
Yoplait Petit Miam Squeezie Strawberry Yoghurt (70 & 130g) 3 360 3.3 1.8 1.2 12.2 300
Yoplait Petit Miam Squeezie Vanilla Yoghurt (70 & 130g) 3 358 3.3 1.8 1.2 12 300
Yoplait Petit Miam Veggie Squeezie Beetroot & Strawberry Yoghurt (70g) 3 343 3.3 1.8 1.2 11 300
Yoplait Petit Miam Veggie Squeezie Pumpkin & Apple Yoghurt (70g) 3 346 3.4 1.8 1.2 11 300
Yoplait Petit Miam Veggie Squeezie Sweet Potato & Guava Yoghurt (70g) 3 343 3.4 1.8 1.2 11 300
Yoplait Petit Miam Veggie Squeezie Sweet Potato & Pear Yoghurt (70g) 3 343 3.4 1.8 1.2 11 300
Yoplait Yoplus (1000g) for reference 4.5 295 5.5 1.9 1.2 7.7 194

 


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