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Help me understand baby food!

(21 Posts)
BecauseImWorthIt Mon 21-Sep-09 13:02:42

DCs are grown up now, but I have the chance of a project for a baby food client.

My, how baby food has changed since the 90s! I vaguely remember jarred stuff going organic, but that's about it. We didn't have any of the toddler stuff as far as I recall.

I know that advice about weaning has changed, i.e. it's now 6 months +, and I'm aware of BLW through Mumsnet, but know very little about the market for baby food - what are good/bad brands, etc?

Please can you enlighten me so I don't look entirely stupid when I go and talk to the prospective client?!

TIA.

Knickers0nmahead Mon 21-Sep-09 13:05:00

All jars are bad grin wink

MarthaFarquhar Mon 21-Sep-09 13:07:22

When DD was ready for weaning, I bought a couple of the Hipp Organic jars, as folk had recommended them to me.

Then I tasted them - farking Nora. Hasty retreat to BLW.

shonaspurtle Mon 21-Sep-09 13:12:00

People like it if the food looks/purports to be next to home-made.

No salt, no artificial colours/flavours all good.

Opaque packagine (imo) good because you can't see how bogging it looks but I think people like glass jars because they associate it with "fresh".

The toddler thing is pretty much a con, basically ready-meals for toddlers but I suppose if you eat a lot of ready meals then it's handy to have one for your toddler that's low salt etc.

I bought ready-made baby food for ds sometimes if we were out or if I had been working and was too disorganised/lazy to have made something in advance. They all look/taste the same imo.

BecauseImWorthIt Mon 21-Sep-09 13:13:39

I thought it all looked hugely more interesting, and as if real food was involved! Things like Ella's kitchen and Plum Baby.

And all the Hipp stuff is organic. Heinz don't seem to have done anything along those lines, although their new packaging is quite fun.

I did the whole pureeing bit myself, but did have the odd jar as a back up when I was out - but can't remember what brand. I remember that I used to avoid Heinz like the plague as their ingredients were very dodgy.

suiledonn Mon 21-Sep-09 13:18:09

I noticed a big difference in the 2.5 years between weaning dd1 and dd2 who is 10 months now.

There is some organic pouches I have tried that are not bad in an emergency and some of the snack/finger foods are handy too. DD2 loves the carrot sticks and sweetcorn rings from an organic company whose name escapes me right now.

The thing I dislike about the jars etc is that when you add up the percent of meat, veg etc is that you usually get to a LOT less than 100% so all the rest is a filler-sauce I presume.

When I weaned dd1 there were savoury dry foods available that you mixed with water which were so disgusting that I binned it before I even gave dd1 a taste. DH had put it in the trolley. I notice these are no longer around.

shonaspurtle Mon 21-Sep-09 13:21:17

Actually, I do remember that the Heinz ones tasted incredibly sweet compared to Cow & Gate/Hipp jars. These are the savoury flavours.

You could see bits of real veg in the lumpier recipes but tuna/chicken/beef/veg - all the same taste. The orange ones stain like buggery grin

shonaspurtle Mon 21-Sep-09 13:22:15

The savoury dry foods from Heinz are still available amazingly. Apparently I was raised on them - all I would eat. Bleurgh!

shonaspurtle Mon 21-Sep-09 13:24:32

I suppose a puree is a puree is a puree so at that stage it's all in the packaging and claims about organic/just-like-home-made etc (cf Heinz "Mum's own recipe")

mmmmmchocolate Mon 21-Sep-09 13:43:25

Used the occasional jar off Hipp when out. I avoided Heinz when I spotted spaghetti hoops & sausages availiable for "4 months plus" Theres something a little bit wrong with prosessed pig scrotum as a baby food in my head hmm

BecauseImWorthIt Mon 21-Sep-09 17:02:29

Stuff like Ella's Kitchen/Plum Baby looks interesting, but is it really expensive?

And how does this all fit with BLW now?

shonaspurtle Mon 21-Sep-09 17:26:52

Yes Plum Baby etc are more expensive - enough that I didn't even consider buying them. I didn't see any real added value as I was making most of ds's food and any jars were simply for convenience. If you were very concerned about the quality of the baby food you were buying you might see the price point as reassurance that you were paying for the "best".

Pureed & mashed baby foods don't really fit into the concept of baby-led weaning at all (or self-feeding).

However there's also a large market in baby snacks such as the Organix range of rice cakes etc and a self feeding baby may well get through a lot of them.

BecauseImWorthIt Mon 21-Sep-09 17:42:17

Yes - I was amazed at all the snacks.

And the amount of pasta/pasta sauces. What on earth is wrong with using 'adult' pasta?!

(I presume the salt content in adult pasta sauces is too high, so can kind of see the logic in baby pasta sauces)

mrsfossil Mon 21-Sep-09 19:30:01

Hi all just watch the Hipp organics range as they add stock with salt in. I actually phoned them to speak to their nutritionalist who said they added stock/salt for flavour hmm and there was me thinking that babies had quite bland pallets. They offered me vouchers to shut me up but i refused saying i wouldn't buy their products

BecauseImWorthIt Mon 21-Sep-09 22:09:02

Really? That seems odd.

I remember being in France, and seeing that all the baby food there did have salt in it!

WobblyPig Tue 22-Sep-09 20:58:37

Uk baby food seems to be ahead of the US and Europe in temrs of organic ranges and au natrel stuff IMO.
Ellas and PLUM BABY were favourites in our house. Also Babylicious frozen cubes were very handy. I wouldn't touch C and G or Heinz but can't really tell you why.
Big expansion in the snack from Organix etc. good for low salt alternatives to things like crips for toddlers/pre-schoolers and I like them too.
BIWI you live near WIMBLEDON don't you - you should chat to Mums in the baby aisle at Sainsburys Colliers Wood I'm always in there swapping child-feeding tips with random people I meet.

Horton Tue 22-Sep-09 21:25:42

I liked Ella's Kitchen and Plum Baby a lot. Even though my daughter loathed most jars and loathed people putting spoons in her mouth she would eat both of these spread on bread or crackers.

Organix stuff is great - the oat bars with dried fruit are a big favourite in this house and the soft rusks have been a staple from six months and still going strong (DD's 3).

I never bothered with baby crisps, just gave Salt and Shake as a v occasional treat with the sachet of salt removed.

The pouch things like Ella's Kitchen are great for a baby who insists on self-feeding as they can pick them up and suck before they have the coordination to manage a spoon as well as they want to. The Ella's Kitchen smoothies in particular are wonderful as they don't need refrigerating.

BecauseImWorthIt Fri 25-Sep-09 19:29:39

Thank you all!

WobblyPig - I'll look out for you in the babyfood aisle. What is the MN secret handshake?!

Meeting went well and we had enough to say that didn't make us look too stupid. Watch this space ...

MrsJamin Fri 25-Sep-09 21:11:16

tell the client there's pretty much no point in 'baby food' as all healthy food is suitable for babies from 6 months ;)

BecauseImWorthIt Fri 25-Sep-09 23:25:43

Well I'm with you there, MrsJamin - sadly, prospective client is a baby food manufacturer, though!

jemart Fri 25-Sep-09 23:34:45

I've not tried Ella's kitchen stuff but the Plum baby fromage frais is good, I've sampled it myself, very tasty. I only buy it if its on offer though and mainly for convenience of size. My baby is just as happy with organic yoghurt, just can't finish the whole pot so has to share with me!

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