Frozen Heats Up Baby Food Biz

Discussion
Aug 28, 2006
Bernice Hurst

By Bernice Hurst, Management Director, Fine Food Network


Small-batch produced frozen baby food is becoming the product of choice for busy families seeking high quality, tasty, nutritious meals for their little ones. Without the time to prepare a variety of tiny portions from scratch, demand for products with little or nothing in the way of additives, preservatives, salt or sugar is booming.


Noting this demand, suppliers have sprung to the rescue. In the U.S., companies such as Evie’s Organic Edibles and Homemade Baby offer products through retailers as well as shipping directly to customers.


Gift certificates introduce new parents who may not have yet come across them in any other way. Most pride themselves on delicious and interesting flavor combinations that develop children’s palates along with early acceptance of healthy food. They have also inspired the competition with big names such as Gerber’s adding an organic line and Earth’s Best using new (to them) spices such as cinnamon to what may have been otherwise bland soups.


Freezing normally requires fewer preservatives than shelf stable foods and helps maintain freshness, something that is particularly attractive to parents of young children. As for price, most parents are willing to pay that little bit extra for confidence where their offspring are concerned although Theresa Kiene, co-founder of Homemade Baby, says most of their customers are simply concerned parents who have made fresh food a priority.


Discussion Questions: Will frozen be a long-term trend in baby foods? How will that affect retailers’ frozen departments?


More small companies are producing frozen ranges in small portion packs that parents seem to prefer to canned or jarred varieties. The perception that fresh
food frozen immediately after it is produced is better for their babies than jars or cans with much longer shelf-life may be influencing their decisions as much as the wider choice
of flavors available. But is this another fad or a new long-term pattern?

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3 Comments on "Frozen Heats Up Baby Food Biz"


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Mark Lilien
Guest
14 years 6 months ago

It might pay to set aside some freezer space for baby food. It’s probably not a good idea to dump the jar baby food assortment, however. Many items meant for adults sell well in jars and cans as well as frozen versions. How many supermarkets have stopped carrying canned peas because they carry frozen peas, too? And frozen baby food certainly isn’t convenient, nor is it fresh. But it might be worthwhile to sell, in select locations, with a limited assortment.

M. Jericho Banks PhD
Guest
M. Jericho Banks PhD
14 years 6 months ago

Excuse me, but frozen baby food has been popular for decades. What modern mother could survive for long with a teething baby without popsicles? I rest my case.

As for “tiny portions” of “high quality, tasty, nutritious meals for [our] little ones,” we used a hand-mill, a type of grinder that allowed us to “moosh” elements of our family meals into a controllably-textured goo at the table that our babies would consume with glee. We almost never had spit-ups, refusals, or projectile regurgitation. Plus, the babies got to sit with the family at the dinner table and saw that they were eating what we were eating. They got to be with us, and didn’t have to eat alone. When we had pot roast, the babies had pot roast. They even developed hand signals for “more ketchup, please,” and “pass the gravy.” If it’s good for the goose, it’s good for the gosling.

Jerry Gelsomino
Guest
14 years 6 months ago

Specialty markets like Trader Joe’s have developed a broad range of unique, culturally and ethnically diverse frozen foods which are made available to consumers today. Long gone are the bland and cardboard tasting frozen TV Dinners we may have been exposed to growing up. It is difficult to believe that the world’s manufacturers of these products could miss out on providing tasty and nutritious food to babies.

I’ve also noticed the growing trend of diverse foods in-store for fido and kitty. My wife has begun buying cat food with little pieces of kitty grass in it, which our cat loves. This is sold in the same aisle which has a freezer selling frozen dog treats. So why not frozen dinners for cats and dogs too!

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