Michelle Obama offers healthier choices for kids with new food company

As co-founder of PLEZi Nutrition, former first lady Michelle Obama is helping parents find healthy alternatives for their kids.

Former first lady Michelle Obama is continuing her mission to improve children’s health and wellness through her newest business venture. This week, the bestselling author announced the launch of PLEZi Nutrition, a food and drink company geared toward kids and putting health at the forefront, CBS News reports.

On a mission to create higher standards in producing and marketing children’s food, Obama is a co-founder and strategic partner of the company. “I am rolling up my sleeves in a different way,” she said in remarks at The Wall Street Journal Future of Everything Festival in New York City, where she made the disclosure about the company. “There are companies and organizations all across the country and around the world that are working hard every day to get healthier, more affordable food to more people.

“But I believe that we still have so much more to do and we cannot wait to do it because the future of everything truly starts within us, and particularly in our young people, the ones who will be leading the way in boardrooms and classrooms and operating rooms and the halls of power.”

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Michelle Obama speaks at the 2023 WSJ’s Future Of Everything Festival on May 3, 2023 at Spring Studios in New York City.
(Photo by Joy Malone/Getty Images)

CBS News reports that the company’s first product, “PLEZi,” is a drink designed for kids ages 6 to 12 that contains 75% less sugar than the average top fruit juices. According to the company website, it is currently available in four flavors — tropical punch, orange smash, sour apple and blueberry blast — at Target and Spouts stores nationwide as well as online at Walmart 

Obama acknowledges in a letter on the company’s homepage that as kids grow older, it’s unrealistic to expect them only to drink water and milk. Also, most consume sugary drinks every day. So, PLEZi Nutrition is designed to be a delicious, “worry-free alternative” because it focuses on lowering sugar content and adding increasing the amount of nutrients like fiber and potassium. By reducing the sweetness of its products, the company hopes to adjust children’s palates and ultimately decrease their cravings for sweets. 

During her husband’s presidency, Obama led the White House’s national public awareness efforts  — commonly known as the “Let’s Move!” campaign — to improve the health of American children. From the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, which updated school meal nutrition standards, to collaborating with Beyoncé to create dance challenges for “Let’s Move! Schools,” health and wellness have been among the former first lady’s longtime passions.  

Although the Task Force on Childhood Obesity sparked a lot of change, a recent White House report states that the country still faces a nutrition-related health crisis. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), children are not receiving the recommended levels of nutrients needed for their health. Instead, kids consume an average of 53 pounds of added sugar annually. 

“I’ve learned that on this issue, if you want to change the game, you can’t just work from the outside,” Obama said, CBS News reports. “You’ve got to get inside — you’ve got to find ways to change the food and beverage industry itself.”

Ultimately, PLEZi Nutrition hopes to meaningfully impact children’s lives. To that end, the company states on its website that it has pledged $1 million to FoodCorps’ Nourishing Futures initiative to ensure that all 50 million students nationwide have access to free school meals and nutrition education by 2030. Additionally, the company has committed to donating 10% of its profits to the kids’ health movement.

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