Michelle Obama launches a healthy food-and-drink brand for kids

May 8, 2023

At The Wall Street Journal’s Future of Everything Festival on Wednesday, May 3, Former First Lady Michelle Obama announced the launch of a healthy food and beverage company she has co-founded that is targeted at fighting childhood obesity, reports CNN.

“We’re hoping not to just provide healthy and delicious drinks and snacks for kids, but to jumpstart a race to the top that will transform the entire food industry,” Obama wrote in a PLEZi Nutrition press release announcing the launch. “Because let’s face it, even after everything we accomplished during the White House years, it is still simply too hard for kids to grow up healthy.”

She said that the company’s first product would be PLEZi—a fruit juice for kids that contains 75% less sugar than average leading 100% fruit juices.

“I’ve learned that on this issue, if you want to change the game, you can’t just work from the outside. You’ve got to get inside—you’ve got to find ways to change the food and beverage industry itself,” Obama said. “I’m proud to announce the national launch of a company designed not just to provide better products, but to jumpstart a race to the top that will transform the entire food industry.”

PLEZi already is available at some major retailers, with the company planning to roll out other snacks and beverages in the coming years “focused on lowering sugar content and lowering sweetness to help adjust kids’ palates to crave less sweetness,” according to a news release.

The former first lady holds the title of co-founder and strategic partner at the nutrition company, which will operate as a public benefit company with a “mission to create higher standards for how the United States makes and markets food and beverages for kids,” the release said.

CNN previously reported that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the prevalence of obesity dropped 43% among young children —ages 2 through 4—between 2004 and 2012. Despite those efforts, rates of childhood obesity have increased in children ages 6 to 11; a sign that some efforts under the Obama administration may not have been a cure-all, experts previously told CNN.

Obama’s office said in the news release that the United States is in a “nutrition-related health crisis” and claimed that children are consuming “far too much” sugar—on average, 53 pounds of added sugar a year.

This is not Michelle Obama’s first venture aimed at helping kids stay healthy. She spearheaded the Let’s Move campaign, a program aimed at ending childhood obesity, during her time at the White House.

Research contact: @CNN