It’s pretty rare when a respected company asks for your input, but it is especially rare to be asked to be part of a small team to help co-create new products. Yet that is exactly what happened to me about a year ago. At that time, the cereal company Kashi asked me and 4 other youth from across the nation to help them create healthy new breakfast cereals aimed at kids.
Kashi is a 30-year-old food pioneer that produces nutritious plant-based foods including cereals, entrees and snacks with healthy ingredients. They are headquartered near San Diego, CA.
Instead of trying to guess what kids want in a cereal, Kashi went straight to the source and collaborated with a group of kids who are passionate about food and the planet, the Kashi Crew, to create foods that both kids and parents would love. The result is a collection of flavorful Kashi by Kids organic cereals – each featuring cool shapes and great tastes - but also superfood ingredients like chickpeas and red lentils.
The new cereals launched in August, and are available in three flavors:
• Kashi by Kids Berry Crumble – Crispy purple corn puffs are combined with tasty apple & strawberry flavor-filled pillows made with chickpeas to create a berry-licious and healthy bowl of goodness.
• Kashi by Kids Honey Cinnamon – Honey, cinnamon, red lentils and sweet apple come together in a nourishing combination of crispy swirled puffs and tasty filled pillows for a spoonful of fun and yum.
• Kashi by Kids Cocoa Crisp – Crispy cocoa bites made with chickpeas and filled pillows made with Fair Trade certified cocoa create a delightful start to the day.
Each cereal is Non-GMO Project Verified, sustainably-sourced, features a simple, organic ingredient list, and delivers diverse plant-based nutrition. There are at least 18g of whole grains, 3g fiber and 8g of sugar or less per serving, making them kid and parent approved. And 2 of the 3 cereals are vegan!
I created life-long friends working with Kashi and the Kashi Crew. Kashi did a great job carefully assembled a team of Gen Z leaders from ages 12-17. Each member brought a fresh perspective with their specialized skills in food, nutrition, the arts and sustainability. Their knowledge and insight went into everything from the ingredients to the flavor combinations to the packaging and the names of the new Kashi by Kids cereals. I really enjoyed learning from each of these inspiring young leaders and getting to know about their journey and passion in life.
I am so impressed by both the incredible team at Kashi as well as my peers on the Kashi Crew. Kashi fully involved us in every step of the process, and I am so proud of the end results. What made this project unique and exciting was that a big company truly set out to involve youth in important decisions, and I hope this starts a trend with other businesses of involving the next generation.
So please give these cereals a try, and more importantly, use the product as a way to help your children understand where their food comes from and how healthy food choices can positively impact themselves, their communities, and the planet. I hope our collective passion for food and planet inspires you to make a positive impact in the world.
Kashi by Kids cereals are now available at grocers nationwide.
Hannah Testa, Young Eco-Warrior, and Environmental/ Animal Activist