A Canberra local invention revolutionising infant feeding has won its first national award, at the inaugural Australian Non-Toxic Awards.
The invention in question is a simple infant self-feeding tool, saving Mums and Dads mess and time by helping their young children feed themselves - without dropping it everywhere.
Chief judge and founder of the awards, Emily Fletcher describes them: “Mashblox are small cubes of translucent silicone with a slit at the top. They sound simple… and they are… simply game changing! They fit perfectly into little hands and can be filled with anything – we’ve done everything from frozen peas to porridge. A child can either reach into the cube for something they can pick up with their fingers or they can hold the cube to their mouth and squeeze for something soft like yogurt."
But the awards celebrate more than just product quality and practicality, scrutinising business ethics and social impact model.
The X factor that Mashblox self-feeding blocks brings is world-first research into the benefits of infant self-feeding to long term health outcomes, including healthier nutritional habits and obesity intervention.
“Our thesis is that How children learn to eat is at least as important as What” Inventor and founder of the company Alix explains.
“We often assume that a child won’t eat something because they don’t like its taste. But our consumer research indicates that it’s more often about how a food looks, feels, or how they’re being fed with it."
Mashblox Pty Ltd has leapt through hoops to partner with Universities worldwide that are leading the charge in infant self-feeding research, and currently boasts engagements with experts from Universities of Coventry, Aston, London and local New South Wales. Research is to be coordinated by the Global Impact Cluster of University of Newcastle.
Alix has returned from presenting her research at the Women’s Economic Forum, London. She also won her first international business leadership award for Mashblox’ pioneering commercial and research model.
“Many of our discoveries about infant feeding behaviour haven’t been possible until our invention made self-feeding easy”, Alix says.
“How do you know why a child won’t eat something unless other influences on their experience are removed?"
But it doesn’t just help with long term health research. Mums, like Tori, are gushing that Mashblox is the only way that their seven month old has been able to feed themselves Weetbix.
She returned a month later to add that another big thing she’d noticed was that now she was eating her own dinner hot.
Children are offering their own feedback, such as two year old Eduardo: “I ate them all. They’re cute!”, or three and a half year old Master K, “Cube risotto is better than bowl risotto”.
Founder Alix exclaims that she’s delighted that they’re starting to be recognised more broadly. "They’re a simple feeding tool, but it’s a new idea, so that takes time for people to understand."
“Except for the kids. They know exactly what to do”, she adds.