Technical

Transforming Baby Food with Healthier Ingredients

In the journey of growth and development, the transition from exclusive breastfeeding or formula feeding to the introduction of solid foods is a milestone in an infant’s life. This crucial phase, typically occurring around 6 months of age, not only introduces infants to a diverse world of flavours and textures but also establishes a nutritional foundation essential for healthy growth. In this article, we will delve into the importance of introducing baby food, examine the market size, discuss the challenges faced by the baby food industry, and explore suggested food ingredients to address these challenges.

Introduction

Infant food encompasses any soft, easily consumed food, essentially a specialty nutrition with a highly-balanced composition aimed at closely mimicking breast milk, the gold standard, specifically designed for human babies between 6 months to 2 years old1. Introducing baby food is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, as babies grow older, iron stored in their bodies from their time in the womb and from breast milk begin to diminish. Therefore, they require solid food containing high amounts of iron and other nutrients such as protein and zinc, for proper growth and development2.

On the other hand, introducing solids plays vital role in helping babies learn to eat, offering them the experience of new tastes and textures from a variety of foods2. This not only aids in developing their teeth and jaws but also fosters other skills essential for language development later on2. Last but not least, research has shown that introducing solid foods into an infant’s diet by 4 months may enhance their willingness to eat a diverse range of fruits and vegetables later in life, reduce their risk of encountering feeding problems, and lower their risk of developing food allergies3.

Market Size of Baby Food

According to Statista, it is estimated that the global infant food market size will reach 75.59 billion USD in 20244. By 2028, it’s set to soar to 94.21 billion USD, anticipating experiencing an annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.66% throughout the forecast period spanning from 2024 to 20294. Besides, the average volume per person in this food market is expected to amount to 0.5kg in 2024.

Problems Faced by Baby Food Manufacturing Companies

Firstly, the nutritional content of some baby foods may be insufficient to fully meet the needs of babies and toddlers5. Once babies begin eating solid foods, it is often because breast milk alone can no longer supply all the nutrients required in their diet. In this case, iron is one of the critical nutrients for developing babies. Thus, baby food companies must ensure their products meet the nutritional standards set by baby food regulations, either by naturally including necessary nutrients or by fortifying them with additional iron and other essential nutrients5.

Another area for improvement lies in the flavour and texture of the products5. The issue with some baby foods is that they tend to be quite bland. As babies begin to eat solid foods, they are also developing their feeding skills. Therefore, offering them a variety of foods encourages the development of a preference for different flavours and textures5. However, some companies face challenges in producing food that resembles family meals rather than tasting like processed industrial nutrition5.

On the other hand, the dried baby food market faces specific challenges. Concerns regarding the high sugar content and potential health risks associated with processed baby food products may deter health-conscious parents from choosing these options6

The Potential Solutions for Baby Food Manufacturing Companies

Solutions

Brand

Description

Fortivit-INF-091

Hexagon Nutrition

  • A premix comprising vitamins intended for infant food fortification.
  • Consists of Vitamin A, Vitamin D, Vitamin E, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, Vitamin B5, Vitamin B6, Vitamin B12, Vitamin C, Folate, Zinc, Iron, Calcium and starch.

Remy rice starch & flours

BENEO

  • A stable thickening agent that supports anti-regurgitation.
  • An aid to extend shelf life.

Palatinose™

BENEO

  • A naturally sourced, tooth-friendly sugar replacer made from pure beet sugar.
  • Features a low glycemic index (GI) property, ensuring a slow and balanced glucose release.
  • Offers a sweetness profile nearly identical to sucrose, yet with half the calories.
  • Utilized to enhance the flavour and texture of various food products.

DPO International, a full-suite market enabler, collaborates with the world’s premier specialised food ingredient producers Hexagon Nutrition and BENEO. Equipped to help you transform these trends into innovative brand concepts, we are with you from ideation to the manufacturing stage, providing solutions and support throughout each phase.

References

  1. Floris, R., Lambers, T., Alting, A., & Kiers, J. (2010). Trends in infant formulas: A dairy perspective. Improving the Safety and Quality of Milk, 454–474. https://doi.org/10.1533/9781845699437.3.454
  2. Introducing solids: Why, when, what and how. Raising Children Network. (2023, October 10). https://raisingchildren.net.au/babies/breastfeeding-bottle-feeding-solids/solids-drinks/introducing-solids
  3. Borowitz, S. M. (2021, March 1). First bites-why, when, and what solid foods to feed infants. Frontiers. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fped.2021.654171/full
  4. Baby Food – worldwide: Statista market forecast. Statista. (n.d.). https://www.statista.com/outlook/cmo/food/baby-food/worldwide
  5. (2022, July 22). Verdict media limited. Food Processing Technology. https://www.foodprocessing-technology.com/features/feature127501/
  6. Hub, M. I. (2023, October 31). Dried baby food market: Challenges, opportunities, and growth drivers and major market players forecasted for period from 2023 – 2030. LinkedIn. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/dried-baby-food-market-challenges-opportunities-growth-drivers-c6mqc