Pepperidge Farms is now offering a vegetable-infused version of its classic Goldfish snacks. The new Goldfish Garden Cheddar crackers contain a third of a serving of vegetables.

The veggie crackers are part of a “stealth health” trend that has been growing for years in cookies, crackers, chips and fruit snacks, according to Krista Faron of Mintel Research. “Starting in about 2007 we really saw it take off . . . This idea of sneaking those healthy ingredients in so that your kids won’t know the difference,” she said.

Goldfish Garden Cheddar goldfish snacks join good-for-you options like the popular Pirate’s Booty in this growing segment. According to Mintel, healthy snacks were a $29.5 billion industry in 2008. The category has grown 17 percent since 2003.

“There are huge opportunities for healthy snacks,” said Laura Cubillos, a registered dietitian and partner for food and nutrition strategy company Food Minds. “Taste and convenience are still the cost of entry for snacks, but nutrition is pretty much up there now.”

The crackers are available starting this month at supermarkets, grocery stores and mass merchandisers, with the suggested retail price of $2.19. Pepperidge Farm also sells whole grain Goldfish crackers.

Pepperidge Farm introduced the new crackers “in an effort to help moms provide wholesome, tasty snacks their kids will love . . . that moms can feel good about giving to their families, especially during the back-to-school season,” said Michael Simon, svp/general manager of the company’s snack division, in a statement.

In tandem with the product launch, Pepperidge Farm enlisted Wakefield Research to conduct an online survey about kids and healthy eating. Seventy-three percent of respondents said their child had gone an entire day without eating a single vegetable. Almost one third of parents said they believe their child is less likely to eat the recommended daily servings of fruit and vegetables than he or she is to become a movie star.

Source: AdWeek