One of the features in this week’s “Dining Out” section of the NY Times, believe it or not, was about the advent of gourmet baby food.
Some quick facts: baby food is now a $3.6 billion a year business, while sales of organic baby food are up 58% in five years and 16% the last year alone. Quick to cash in on the trend, folks are coming out with freshly jarred or frozen entrees for infants and toddlers. Made typically from organic ingredients, these are not your father’s baby foods – although they are probably closer to your grandmother’s baby foods. Made with fresh fruits and vegetables and flavored with natural spices, the new batch of gourmet baby edibles appeals to families looking for healthier, tastier options for their children. HappyBaby offers red lentils with coriander and cinnamon; Homemade Baby gives us Baby Tex Mex with kidney beans, brown rice and veggies; Bohemian Baby serves a vegetable korma dish complete with coconut milk. Now even old standby Gerber’s getting into the mix, with the huge launch of Gerber Organic. Earth’s Best has long been in the organic baby food market, but newer, boutique competitors are providing fresh or fresh frozen alternatives that are healthier and more nutritious than the jarred food that’s often older than the baby who’s eating it.
Of course, as with organic food in general, prices are higher and access is limited, but hopefully, in time, both will improve. Then again, it’s much cheaper and easier to make your own fresh, organic baby food. Just don’t forget the figs and curry.