Organic baby food
This product analysis focuses on the Baby Organix range of organic baby food.
The organic food market as a whole has been growing steadily over the past few years - in some cases, organic baby food ranges have virtually overtaken conventional products. The supermarkets are reporting sales of organic baby food ranging from 22% of the market (Sainsbury's) to 53% (Waitrose). Baby Organix is the main UK producer, with up to 30% of all baby food sales in some supermarkets.
The Baby Organix range is carefully designed to meet the nutritional needs of babies of specific ages. Products marked 'from four months' contain a limited range of ingredients and are pured smooth. Products marked 'from seven months' contain a wider variety of ingredients and small whole pieces, such as rice grains or diced carrot, to encourage babies to chew more. Foods marked 'from twelve months' require babies to chew properly and may encourage self-feeding.
There are four main types of food across these age ranges:
- savoury jars (e.g. vegetables and casseroles)
- jars of desserts and breakfasts (e.g. fruit puddings and cereals)
- boxes of pasta and cereals (e.g. baby rice and porridge)
- organic snacks (e.g. breadsticks, rice cakes and raisins).
All the foods in the Baby Organix range are pre-cooked and can be served warm or cold, depending on the individual baby's preference. Parents and carers have to be careful when warming foods to make sure that they don't get too hot - as a general rule, a safe temperature for baby food is around 37.8C (body temperature). Ingredients
Baby Organix products contain 100% organic ingredients. These ingredients are carefully chosen to meet the nutritional needs of babies at different stages. The following example shows the ingredients, nutritional composition and special dietary information from a typical jar of Baby Organix food. Baby's First Vegetables
(from 4 months): 100g jar Ingredients:
Water (42%), Sweetcorn (22%), Potato (15%), Carrot (10%), Peas (10%), Olive Oil (1%) Nutritional Composition:
Energy (212KJ); Energy (50Kcal); Protein
(1.7g); Carbohydrate (7.4g), of which sugars (1.5g); Fat (1.5g), of which saturates (0.2g); Fibre
(1.3g); Sodium (13mg) Special Dietary Information:
Gluten Free; Milk & Lactose Free; No Added Sugar; Egg Free; Soya Free; Fish/Shellfish Free; Peanut, Nut and Sesame Nut Free; Suitable for Vegetarians; Suitable for Vegans Production
Baby Organix works with carefully chosen partners to manufacture its ranges. Its traceability systems mean that individual producers can be clearly identified and quality-checked, and there is an emphasis on buying from British suppliers. A full specification is provided for suppliers, including recipe, process, ingredient supply and cost, packaging format and design. The Soil Association certifies all ingredients. Safety
Safety is an integral part of organic food products - they are designed to be safer to eat than their conventional counterparts. But how is this safety regulated?
To be labelled organic, products have to meet strict guidelines. Organic products must contain a minimum of 95% organic ingredients by weight, and these ingredients have to meet standards set by certifying bodies such as the UK Register of Organic Food Standards (UKROFS) and the Soil Association.
There are hundreds of terms and conditions for organic producers, but basic standards are that:
- as far as possible, farmers must use natural methods of pest, disease and weed control
- producers, such as bakers and processors, must use at least 95% organic raw ingredients
- there must be no genetically-modified ingredients
- animals must be fed a mostly organic diet, with no artificial hormones. The use of vaccines, antibiotics and wormers is restricted
- animals must be cared for well, with strict rules about housing and freedom
- contamination must be avoided. For example, organic food in supermarkets has to be protected from cross-contamination by non-organic produce.
Safety is also vital when preparing and packaging food products. All Baby Organix products comply with health, safety and hygiene
regulations at every stage of their design and production.
To reduce the risk of food poisoning:
- Baby Organix labels give instructions on how to serve and store products
- products have a 'best before' date
- jars have a safety button on the lid.
Like many organic producers, Baby Organix aims to convey the idea that organic food is environment
ally friendly by using natural colours and images on its packaging (for example green lids and the green leaf logo). For maximum impact on the shop shelf, bright colours are used alongside different shades of green.