Beechnut baby food commercial
Beech-Nut Vs. Gerber: Which Baby Food Brand Is Better?
Updated on 21 December 2021 • 9 minute read
As many as 90% of parents in the US may turn to commercial baby foods for children below three years old. The baby food industry is expected to reach over $76 billion in sales in 2021 alone. (1)
Beech-Nut and Gerber are among the most popular baby food brands you can easily buy from grocery stores. Both offer a variety of flavors and may be good options as your baby’s first solid food.
But which is the best baby food brand for your little one? What products do they offer? Do they use organic ingredients with no preservatives? Do they have toxic metal content?
Continue reading to find answers to these questions below.
Beech-Nut and Gerber: Similarities & Differences
- Both baby food brands are readily available in most grocery stores.
- Both offer a variety of flavors for different stages of your baby’s development.
- Both may be good options as your baby’s first solid food.
- Both have been producing baby food for decades: Gerber since 1927 and Beech-Nut since 1931.
- Both claim to do extensive research and regular tests on their products to ensure quality and safety for your baby.
- Both are Non-GMO Project Verified. It means that both brands produce baby foods without GMOs (genetically modified organisms). GMOs may cause antibiotic resistance, allergic reactions, reduced immune system function, and cancer. (2)
- Both use BPA-free packaging. BPA (bisphenol-A) is a toxic industrial chemical used in plastic production. (3)
- Both brands may also have products with high levels of toxic heavy metals, based on tests conducted by Consumer Reports and HBBF (Healthy Babies Bright Futures). (1)(4)
- Both were called out in the 2021 Congressional Reports for their heavy metal content. They provided the Subcommittee with their test results and internal standards. But their results show high levels of heavy metals in ingredients and/or finished products. (5)(6)
- But both also claim that their products are safe and within the FDA’s limits.
Here’s part of Gerber’s statement:
“100% of our foods meet all FDA requirements for our products and our own strict standards. We developed these standards based on the very latest health and safety guidance from organizations like the Food and Drug Administration, Environmental Protection Agency, the European Food Safety Authority and the World Health Organization.
In fact, we have among the strictest standards in the world.”
Beech-Nut also assures customers that their products are safe:
“Our foods are and have been below the proposed FDA arsenic limit for rice cereals.
Even the highest quality, organic and non-GMO fruits and vegetables contain trace amounts of lead because this contaminant commonly occurs naturally in soil. ”
Is Beech-Nut Brand Good For Babies?
- The brand claims that they use infinitely-recyclable glass jars to reduce their carbon footprint.
- The brand also claims to produce “real food” with no artificial ingredients.
- Its Organics line is certified USDA organic.
- The brand claims that it tests for 255 pesticides, toxins, and heavy metals.
- None of their products contain soy allergens.
- Beech-Nut has eliminated salt and sugars in most of its products since 1977, except for foods that “require sweetening to balance natural acids.” (7)
What Makes Gerber Better
- The brand offers various products for kids up to preschool age, including multivitamins and probiotic supplements.
- The brand has a subscription service for its organic line at $69. 99 per month or around $1 to $2 per meal. These baby foods are delivered to your doorstep.
- The brand also has products for pregnant moms and infant formulas.
- Both brands test their products, but Gerber claims they have a panel of 2,000 babies or “tiny taste testers” who help ensure that their foods taste good.
- Gerber is also part of FITS (Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study), an ongoing research to understand children’s diets and behaviors since 2002.
- The brand claims that its products go through over 100 individual quality checks.
Beech-Nut Baby Foods
Beech-Nut offers a variety of foods that can suit your baby’s nutritional needs when you start weaning them.
You can follow the feeding suggestions by choosing foods from the 4+ Months line if you’re feeding your baby for the first time.
But make sure to ask for your pediatrician‘s advice if you’re planning on giving solid foods to a kid less than six months old.
- Infant cereal canisters
- Classics (single-ingredient pureed baby food jars with broth)
- Naturals (single-ingredient pureed baby food jars)
- Organics (single-ingredient pureed organic baby food jars and cereal canisters)
Flavors can include the following:
- Multigrain cereal canister
- Naturals Sweet Potato Jar
- Organics Pumpkin Jar
Beech-Nut discontinued its rice cereal product line in 2021 after expressing concern about its ability to consistently obtain rice flour that passes the FDA requirements for toxic heavy metal content. (8)
- Infant cereal canisters
- Classics (multi-ingredient pureed baby food jars with broth)
- Naturals (multi-ingredient pureed baby food jars)
- Organics (multi-ingredient pureed baby food jars and cereal canisters)
- Fruities (pureed baby food in a pouch)
- Naturals Pouch (pureed baby food in a pouch)
Flavors can include:
- Harvest Dinners Chicken, Pear, & Zucchini Jar
- Apple, Pear, & Banana Jar
- Naturals Banana, Blueberries, & Green Beans Jar
- Carrot, Zucchini, & Pear Veggies Pouch
- Baby Food Jars
- Baby Food Pouches
- Melties (freeze-dried snacks with fruits, vegetables, and yogurt)
Flavors can include the following:
- Pear, Mango, Spinach, & Yogurt Melties With Probiotics
- Naturals Banana, Cinnamon, & Granola Pouch
- Naturals Carrots, Sweet Corn, & Pumpkin Jar
- Naturals Pouches
- Fruities Pouches
- Veggies Pouches
- Veggie Crisps
- Oat Bars
- Fruit & Veggie Bars
- Melties (freeze-dried snacks with fruits, vegetables, and yogurt)
Flavors can include:
- Apple, Carrot, Mango & Yogurt Melties With Probiotics
- Strawberry Fruity Oat Bars
- Sweet Potato Baked Veggie Crisps
The nutritional values differ among various baby food products. But here’s an example from one of Beech-Nut’s bestsellers on Amazon:
Naturals Butternut Squash Jar
- Butternut squash
- Calories: 35 calories
- Sodium: 0 mg
- Fats: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 8 g
- Total sugars: 3 g
- Added sugars: 0 g
- Fibers: 1 g
- Proteins: <1 g
- Calcium: 28 mg
- Iron: 1.1 mg
- Potassium:188 mg
Beech-Nut Single Grain Rice Cereal Recall (2021)
Beech-Nut Single Grain Rice Cereal (universal product code# 52200034705) was recalled in June 2021 due to high arsenic content in tests conducted by the State of Alaska. (8)
The recall included the following product codes, with an expiration date code of “01MAY2022”: (8)
For return or refund processing, you can reach them through:
- www. beechnut.com/ricecereal
Beech-Nut CLASSICS Sweet Potato & Chicken (2015)
Beech-Nut CLASSICS Sweet Potato & Chicken was recalled in April 2015 due to possible contamination with glass. (9)
Products with the following codes were called (all have an expiry date code of “DEC 2016”): (9)
For return or refund processing, you can do the following:
- Return the recalled product to the store
- Call (518) 839-0300
Gerber Baby Foods
Gerber offers a wide range of products, from infant formulas to preschoolers over 24 months old.
It may be ideal to start with the products for Supported Sitter (4-6 months) as your baby’s first food while weaning from breast milk or formula.
But make sure to ask for a pediatrician’s recommendation before giving solid foods to a baby below six months old.
Supported Sitter (4-6 months)
- 1st Foods (single-ingredient puree in jars)
- My 1st Veggies (single-ingredient puree in jars)
- Single grain rice cereals
- Single grain oatmeal cereals
Flavors can include the following for the 1st Foods line:
- Butternut Squash
- Natural Apple
- Natural Green Bean
- Natural Sweet Potato
Sitter (6-8 months)
- 2nd Foods (multi-ingredient puree in jars)
- Incredipouch (multi-ingredient puree in a pouch)
- Multi-ingredient rice cereals
- Multi-ingredient oatmeal cereals
Flavors include the following for the 2nd Foods line:
- Mac & Cheese with Vegetable Dinner
- Turkey Rice Dinner
- Vanilla Custard Pudding with Banana
- Carrot Tomato & Basil with Balsamic Vinegar
Gerber used to offer Organic Whole Grain Brown Rice Cereal but has discontinued the product.
Crawler (8-12 months)
- Puffs (baked puffed snacks)
- Lil’ Crunchies baked (puffed snacks)
- Melts (freeze-dried fruit and vegetable snack)
- Whipped melts (freeze-dried fruit and egg white snack)
- Teethers (gentle teething wafers)
- Teether Wheels (wheel-shaped teething snacks)
- BabyPops (puffed snacks)
- Puffs To Go (cereal snacks)
- 3rd Foods (baby food jar)
- Grain & Grow Morning Bowl (multigrain cereal with fruits or veggies)
- Lil’ Bits (cereal with fruit bits)
- Yogurt Blends
Flavors can include the following:
- Very Berry Blend Fruit & Veggie Melts
- Strawberry Apple Puffs
- Veggie Dip Lil’ Crunchies
- Strawberry Apple Spinach Teethers
- Organic Banana Raspberry BabyPops
- 3rd Foods Pasta Marinara
Toddler (12+ months)
- Grain & Grow Soft Baked Grain Bars
- Oat Milk Smoothies
- Lil’ Crunchies
Flavors can include the following:
- Organic Lil’ Crunchies White Bean Hummus
- Organic Grain & Grow Soft Baked Grain Bars (Banana, Mango, and Pineapple flavor)
- Organic Banana, Squash, Mango, and Pineapple Smoothie
The brand also offers the following:
- Probiotic and vitamin drops
- Probiotic supplements
The nutritional values vary among the different baby food products. But here’s an example from one of Gerber’s bestsellers on Amazon:
Gerber 2nd Foods Hawaiian Delight Dessert
- Pineapple juice (water and pineapple juice concentrate)
- Fully ripened bananas
- White grape juice concentrate
- Rice flour
- Whey protein concentrate (from milk)
- Vitamin C (ascorbic acid)
- Calories: 120 calories
- Sodium: 50 mg
- Fats: 0 g
- Carbohydrates: 28 g
- Total sugars: 20 g
- Added sugars: 5 g
- Fibers: 0 g
- Proteins: 2 g
- Calcium: 21 mg
- Iron: 0.2 mg
- Potassium: 240 mg
- Vitamin C: 23 mg
Gerber Pasta Pick-Ups Cheese Ravioli (2017)
Gerber Pasta Pick-Ups Cheese Ravioli (universal product code #159070) were recalled in March 2017 for undeclared egg components (allergens) on the product label. (10)
This recall affected all the batches/lots without the correct label.
For return or refund processing, you can call 1-800-510-7494.
Gerber Organic 2ND FOODS Pouches (2016)
Gerber Organic 2ND FOODS Pouches were recalled in March 2016 over packaging defects that may cause product spoilage during handling or transport. (11)
These products were affected: (11)
Carrots, Apples & Mangoes
- Batch 51955335XX, with best before date: July 13, 2016
- Batch 51965335XX, with best before date: July 14, 2016
Pears, Carrots & Peas
- Batch 51945335XX, with best before date: July 12, 2016
- Batch 51955335XX, with best before date: July 13, 2016
For return or refund processing, you can call 1-800-706-0556.
Congressional Report On Toxic Baby Foods
Which Baby Food Brands Are Toxic?
According to the Congressional Report released in February 2021, several popular baby food brands may have products with alarming levels of heavy metal content. The brands are: (5)
- Beech-Nut Nutrition Company (Beech-Nut)
- Nurture, Inc. (HappyBABY and HappyTOT)
- Hain Celestial Group, Inc. (Earth’s Best Organic)
- Campbell’s Plum Organics
- Walmart Inc. (Parent’s Choice)
- Sprout Foods, Inc. (Sprout Organic Foods)
Is Beechnut Baby Food Bad?
Beech-Nut declared that all its raw materials passed its internal standards. (5)
Yet, the company apparently set exponentially high internal maximum levels, so these ingredients actually failed the regulations. (5)
Here’s the FDA maximum limit for bottled water (in ppb or parts per billion): (12)
- 10 ppb inorganic arsenic
- 5 ppb lead
- 5 ppb cadmium
The FDA maximum limit for infant rice cereal:
- 100 ppb inorganic arsenic
Here’s the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) limit for drinking water, which may also apply to food: (13)
- 2 ppb mercury
Instead of complying with these regulations, Beech-Nut created internal standards with increased limits: (5)
- Arsenic: 3,000 ppb
- Cadmium: 3,000 ppb
- Lead: 5,000 ppb
The following are some of the results for Beech-Nut products: (5)
- 300+ ppb (additives)
- 913. 4 ppb (raw materials)
- Up to 886.9 ppb (raw materials)
- Up to 344.55 ppb (raw materials)
- The company doesn’t test for mercury.
In September 2021, the Subcommittee follow-up report released test results of Beech-Nut baby food products that still contained dangerously high inorganic arsenic levels. (6)
Three samples of Beech-Nut Single Grain Rice Cereal had the following inorganic arsenic levels: (6)
- Product code 093470XXXX, sample 1: 122 ppb
- Product code 093470XXXX, sample 2: 116 ppb
- Product code 103470XXXX: 125 ppb
Beech-Nut later issued a recall on these lots and discontinued its rice cereal line. But other products weren’t recalled. (6)(8)
Other Beech-Nut rice cereal product codes that also have results over the FDA’s arsenic limits: (6)
Notably, there were two samples from lot #243470XXXX that showed high levels of inorganic arsenic. According to the Subcommittee, these results prove that that brand should have issued a recall on the other product codes. (6)
Is Gerber Baby Food Bad?
Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, head of the Congressional Subcommittee, issued the following statement regarding Gerber and the other baby food companies: (5)
“My Subcommittee’s investigation has pulled back the curtain on the baby food industry, and each revelation has been more damning than the last.
I’ve released a new report on toxic metals in baby food, including popular brands such as Gerber’s Infant Rice Cereal products containing dangerous levels of inorganic arsenic.
We trust these companies with our babies, and they have failed us.”
Gerber admitted to the Subcommittee that it doesn’t perform heavy metal tests on finished products. Only the raw materials or ingredients are tested. (5)
Here are some of Gerber’s heavy metal test results:
- Up to 90 ppb in rice flour (67 batches)
- Up to 48 ppb in sweet potatoes
- Over 5 ppb in carrot ingredients (75%)
- Up to 87 ppb (some carrot batches)
- No test for other raw materials or ingredients.
- The company doesn’t test for mercury.
Consumer Reports On Toxic Baby Foods
As many as 90% of US parents choose commercial products over homemade baby foods for children below three years old. So, it’s alarming to learn that many products contain toxic heavy metals. (1)
Consumer Reports showed that 68% of baby foods might have at least one heavy metal in worrisome levels. (1)
Baby Foods That May Have High Levels Of Toxic Metals
The study also identified fifteen baby foods that may pose potential health risks if your child eats several servings a day. (1)
These include foods from Beech-Nut and Gerber: (1)
- Complete Rice Single Grain Baby Cereal
- Organic Oatmeal Whole Grain Baby Cereal
- Complete Oatmeal Whole Grain Baby Cereal
- Classics Sweet Potatoes
- Graduates Arrowroot Cookies
- Graduates Cinnamon Graham Animal Crackers
- Graduates Banana Cookies
- Graduates Waffle Wheels Puffed Grain Snack, Banana Cream
- Oatmeal Single Grain Cereal
- Organic Oatmeal Cereal
- Graduates Lil’ Biscuits Vanilla Wheat
- Graduates Cereal Bars, Strawberry Banana
- Turkey & Rice
- Carrot, Pear & Blackberry
- Carrots Peas & Corn With Lil’ Bits
- Lil’ Meals flavor White Turkey Stew With Rice and Vegetables
Baby Foods With “Less Concern”
But not all their products have alarming levels of toxic metals. (1)
The same report identifies the following as baby foods with “less concern.” You may give as many servings as you want to your baby: (1)
- Naturals Carrot, Broccoli, Apple & Strawberry
- Classics Apple, Pear & Banana
- Quinoa Crispies, Vanilla
- Organic Just Apple & Green Beans
- Organic Peas, Green Beans, and Avocado
- Breakfast Buddies Hot Cereal With Real Fruit, Apple Cinnamon
- Graduates Puffs Cereal Snack, Strawberry Apple
- Grabbers Strong Veggies, Broccoli, Carrot, Banana, Pineapple
- Lil’ Beanies Baked Snack Made With Beans, White Cheddar & Broccoli
- Lil’ Crunchies Baked Corn Snack Mild Cheddar
- Lil’ Crunchies Baked Corn Snack Vanilla Maple
- Lil’ Entrées Chicken & Brown Rice With Peas & Corn
- Organic Puffs, Puffed Grain Snack, Apple
- Organic Peas, Carrots & Beets
What Is The Healthiest Baby Food Brand?
Considering these worrisome toxic metals in Beech-Nut and Gerber products, these may be healthier alternatives to give your baby:
- Little Spoon (subscription-based)
- Yumi (subscription-based)
- Little Journey Organics
- Once Upon A Farm
- Serenity Kids
(1) https://www. consumerreports.org/food-safety/heavy-metals-in-baby-food/
(9) https://www.fsis. usda.gov/recalls-alerts/beech-nut-nutrition-recalls-baby-food-product-due-possible-foreign-matter
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After months of breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, it can be surprising to realize that your still-tiny baby is actually ready for “real” food. This exciting (albeit messy!) transition may be a little bittersweet and can feel overwhelming, especially considering the numerous baby food options available in 2022.
We’ve rounded up some of this year’s best baby foods to help you get started on the right foot — er, spoon.
Both the World Health Organization and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommend exclusively breastfeeding babies for the first 6 months of life. Formula-fed infants are ready to start solid foods when they start showing signs that they’re ready.
In some cases, you may start solids around 4 or 5 months, but it’s best to discuss this with your pediatrician. If your doctor doesn’t have a different recommendation, most babies are ready to start soft or pureed foods by the time they’re about 6 months old.
If you’re picking commercially prepared baby food (versus making your own), it’s wise to start with simple, one-ingredient baby food. Most commercial baby food is labeled stage 1, 2, or 3 based on the texture and number of ingredients.
For instance, stage 1 baby food has the smoothest texture and typically has one ingredient, such as pureed pears. So, for your 4- to 6-month-old, you’ll want to start with stage 1 baby food.
Starting with one food at a time helps you monitor for any adverse reactions or food allergies. The American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology recommends monitoring each food for 3 to 5 days.
There isn’t really a perfect first food — the choice is yours! Some good foods to start: infant cereal (preferably oat or whole grain), meat purees such as chicken or turkey, or single-ingredient purees of fruits or veggies.
If you’re debating whether to start with fruits or veggies first, the AAP suggests that an infant’s preferences for sweets won’t budge even if veggies are introduced first. Mashed peas just don’t taste as good once you’ve had applesauce.
We chatted with pediatricians, read the research, polled real-life parents, read reviews, and used our own babies as taste testers (although we can’t say their opinions on nutritional value are very authoritative) to bring you some of the top baby food brands available. In addition:
- We looked for foods that are certified USDA organic and have non-GMO verified ingredients.
- We focused on baby food that’s free of added sugar (but have called out one or two products that contain it).
- The baby foods on our list are free of harmful preservatives.
- We called out the brands that market their products as gluten-free and allergen-free.
All products are also vetted by our medical standards team, which evaluates brand integrity and product safety.
Reducing Exposure to Toxic Elements in Baby Foods
Three brands in this article — Gerber, Beech-Nut, and Happy Baby — were mentioned in a February 2021 Congressional Report for products containing significantly high levels of toxic heavy metals, including arsenic, lead, cadmium, and mercury. The FDA has since launched the Closer to Zero: Action Plan for Baby Foods to address exposure to toxic elements from eating baby foods.
- Best overall baby food: Beech-Nut Naturals Stage 1
- Best organic baby food pouches: Plum Organics Stage 1
- Best budget-friendly baby food: Gerber Organic 1st Foods
- Best baby food for constipation: Gerber Natural 1st Foods (Pear)
- Best organic jarred baby food: Happy Baby Organics Clearly Crafted Stage 1
- Best personalized subscription service: Cerebelly
- Best fresh baby food: Once Upon a Farm Cold-Pressed Organic Baby Food
- Best first baby cereal: Gerber Organic 1st Foods Single Grain Cereal
- Best, most interesting baby food blends: Little Spoon Complex Solids
- Best all-around clean baby food: Baby Gourmet
Best overall baby food
Beech-Nut Naturals Stage 1
This affordable baby food is an all-around fan favorite. Beech-Nut baby foods come in recyclable glass jars and are available in both natural and organic varieties. Blends are available in every stage, from single-ingredient foods for brand-new eaters (like butternut squash and plum) to multi-food blends with chunkier textures for older babies.
The ingredients in Beech-Nut baby foods are simple, with no artificial additives. Plus, these little glass jars are available at most grocery stores, so they’re easy to find. However, while it’s great for recycling purposes, glass can be dangerous — always supervise your little one around glass.
Beech-Nut Naturals are free of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) but not certified organic (unless you shop their organics line). They contain no added sugar.
Shop now at Walmart
Best organic baby food pouches
Plum Organics Stage 1
If sustainability, organic foods, and non-GMO ingredients are important to you, Plum Organics has a great line of baby food options to try.
Their BPA-free pouches are super convenient and available in a variety of fruits, veggies, and grains for each stage of eating. These foods have no added salts or sugars, so they’re nutritious and simple for baby’s maturing digestive system. They’re also widely available and can be purchased in bulk for greater savings.
And while feeding experts definitely discourage using pouches exclusively, there’s no denying that pouches are very convenient for occasional on-the-go feedings. To make sure your baby is still progressing in their journey through solid foods, try squeezing the pouch contents into a spoon. And be sure to watch out for the small plastic caps, as they’re a choking hazard.
Plum Organics is certified organic and non-GMO, and their baby food doesn’t contain added sugar.
Shop now at Amazon
Best budget-friendly baby food
Gerber Organic 1st Foods
Gerber is the classic baby food brand, and they’ve made changes over the last few years to make their food more health-conscious (e. g., starting an organic line). Yet they have maintained their status as one of the most affordable prepared baby food brands on the market.
They offer benefits like glass jars, organic ingredients, and a wide variety of food choices at a lower cost than some other brands on our list.
Gerber Organic is USDA organic, non-GMO, and free of added sugar.
Shop now at Walmart
Best baby food for constipation
Gerber Natural 1st Foods (Pear)
Sometimes babies get a little constipated when they’re beginning their solid food journey, especially if they’re eating a lot of dairy or iron-fortified cereal. In addition to continuing breast milk, some foods may help relieve your little one’s digestive discomfort, including all the “P” fruits.
So prunes, pears, plums, and peaches are some options to help keep tiny bowels on the move. You can find great fruit purees in any brand on our list, but one of the more cost-effective is the Gerber brand. The good news is that many babies love fruit, so it shouldn’t be too hard to get your little one to down some prunes or pears.
This product is made with non-GMO ingredients and pears grown with Clean Field Farming practices. It doesn’t contain added sugars.
Shop now at Walmart
Best organic jarred baby food
Happy Baby Organics Clearly Crafted Stage 1
Another great organic baby food option, the Happy Baby company offers their organic baby food jars at most stores — although not quite as widely as Beech-Nut and Plum Organics.
Happy Baby jars offer a wide variety of foods, from kale and mango to spinach and peaches and chia seeds. You can start with their single-ingredient jars (this is important for ruling out allergies, as well as to help baby learn to like spinach even when it’s not disguised by pears). Then, you can move on to their fruit and veggie blends as your little one grows.
High quality ingredients, creative flavors, and no artificial ingredients all make Happy Baby a solid (no pun intended) choice.
Happy Baby is USDA organic and doesn’t contain added sugars.
Shop now at Walmart
Best personalized subscription service
Cerebelly allows you to personalize your subscription of baby food pouches based on your child’s age, leaning on science to determine what foods will benefit them at their stage of development.
You’ll take a quiz that asks about the current development and language cues your baby is showing (responding to their name, grasping toys, using noises to show emotion, etc.). It also asks about motor, social, and visual skills.
The results will clue you in on key nutrients that may benefit your little one and customize your baby food pouches based on this.
To boot, the brand has earned the Clean Label Project Purity Award (which evaluates products for toxins and contaminants), is certified USDA organic, and contains no added sugars.
Shop now at Cerebelly
Best fresh baby food
Once Upon a Farm Cold-Pressed Organic Baby Food
These organic, cold-pressed baby food pouches and cups are found in the refrigerated section at your grocery store (and yes, they have to be refrigerated at home). The company also has a subscription delivery option to make baby food even more convenient for your busy schedule.
Creative names like Wild Rumpus Avocado and Magic Velvet Mango will have you smiling, and the variety of flavors will (hopefully!) appeal to your little one. Once Upon a Farm offers a variety of food stages, so you can start with their purees and move on up to their finger and toddler foods as your baby grows.
Once Upon a Farm is certified organic and non-GMO. Their products contain no added sugars and are Clean Label Project certified.
Shop now at Target
Best first baby cereal
Gerber Organic 1st Foods Single Grain Cereal
This simple cereal is a great first food for baby. You can mix this one-ingredient whole grain cereal with breast milk, formula, or water to provide your little one with some crucial nutrients (such as iron) and experience with spoons and textures.
The AAP recommends oatmeal or multigrain cereals over rice cereals, as they have a lower risk of exposure to chemicals such as arsenic (which is sometimes a concern with rice products).
As your baby gets used to other foods, you can also mix this cereal with fruit or yogurt to provide a heartier meal.
Gerber Organic is certified USDA organic and non-GMO, but this product does contain some added sugars.
Shop now at Walmart
Best, most interesting baby food blends
Little Spoon Complex Solids
Once your baby is ready for more advanced blends, Little Spoon has a unique line of complex blends that contain multiple purees as well as other seeds and grains for texture.
For example, one blend contains quinoa, butternut squash, and apple. Another contains kale, white bean, pear, basil, quinoa, and avocado oil.
Little Spoon purees use certified organic and non-GMO ingredients. They’re free of added sugar.
Shop now at Little Spoon
Best all-around clean baby food
Baby Gourmet is another Clean Label Project Purity Award winner, which means they go above and beyond to ensure their baby food is free of harmful toxins that naturally occur in the environment.
This Canadian company is also set to donate 1 million meals to vulnerable populations by 2025. It’s founded and run by moms, which can be reassuring.
Baby Gourmet is certified organic and non-GMO by both U.S. and Canadian standards. All packaging is BPA-free. Products contain no added sugar.
Shop now at Baby Gourmet
As a general guideline, it’s a good idea to start with iron-fortified baby cereals or pureed meats if your infant is breastfed. Breastfed babies are more likely to need extra iron than formula-fed babies.
It’s also advisable to start with simple, single-ingredient purees of meat, vegetables, and fruits.
Choosing brands that are certified organic, use BPA-free materials, and are conscious of using whole food ingredients (e.g., they don’t add “extras” like salt, sugar, or corn syrup) helps ensure a healthy start for your little one.
According to the AAP, you shouldn’t give babies under age 1 cow’s milk, honey, unpasteurized dairy, or undercooked meat, as these can be an infection risk for a baby’s developing immune system.
You’ll also want to avoid foods that are hard or sharp or present a choking risk (for instance, chips, nuts, popcorn, raisins, raw apples, raw carrots, whole grapes, hot dogs). For a more comprehensive guide to which foods to give and what to avoid, check out our article on infant nutrition and starting solids.
While experts used to advise waiting to introduce highly allergenic foods (such as dairy, wheat, nuts, and eggs) until after the first year, the experts now say that delayed introduction of these foods may increase a child’s risk of food allergies. So, with the guidance of your pediatrician, go ahead and introduce those foods within the first year.
Seek immediate emergency medical attention if you notice swelling of the tongue and mouth, wheezing, or trouble breathing after your child eats certain foods
Some babies are raring to go when it comes to trying food, while others may take a little more convincing. Either way, definitely get your camera on video mode, as there are bound to be some hilarious faces and some impressive food spillage along the way.
Here are some pro tips to help make the process as smooth as possible:
- Wait until your baby shows signs of readiness for solid food.
- Keep trying. It can take 5 to 10 exposures for a baby to accept a new food.
- Make it fun and silly.
- Cook and eat as a family as much as possible.
- Let your baby play with the spoon and even the food! While incredibly messy, this helps them get comfortable with the textures, smells, and tastes of new foods.
- Talk with your pediatrician if you have any questions or concerns. They’re a great resource and want to help you grow a happy, healthy baby.
What’s the best baby food for growth and weight gain?
If your baby is under 6 months and breastfeeding, it’s recommended that you stick to that exclusively for 6 months. When you’re ready to introduce solids after 6 months, it should be in addition to breastfeeding and formula, not as a replacement.
If your baby is formula-fed, they may begin eating solids sooner than 6 months. While no one specific food is recommended, a variety of foods and colors is best, including meats, vegetables, and fruits. One of the key foods that can help with growth and weight gain is avocados (high in healthy fats and fiber but low in sugar).
Always discuss your baby’s dietary changes with your pediatrician and attend regular checkups to monitor growth.
What’s the easiest food for babies to digest?
Just like adults, babies do best with regular bowel movements. If they’re having a hard time with this, oatmeal is one food known to be easy to digest and promote regularity, as it contains higher amounts of dietary fiber.
It may also help to focus on quantity. Try feeding your baby smaller meals more often, rather than fewer larger meals. This may be easier on their system and allow them to digest foods more easily.
What’s the best baby food to start with?
Mashed banana and avocado are some of the most popular solids to start with. Soft, ground oatmeal is also great. When it comes to fruit and vegetable purees, focus on variety, but don’t overdo it with those that are naturally high in sugar (such as berry purees).
Most importantly, at 6 months old, all foods should still be pureed and cooked. Once your baby is 9 months old and older, you can start to introduce vegetables cut into pieces. The only other no-no is honey, which they shouldn’t have until they’re over a year old.
It can feel like a lot of pressure to choose the best nutrition for your child, especially when trying to capitalize on the years before they start demanding chicken nuggets and ice cream. But there are a lot of great, healthy options available in 2022.
Whether you choose to make your own baby food, buy jars or pouches, or use a baby food subscription service, there are a number of resources to help you feed your baby.
"Dome" charm, "Mama Lama" animation or "Children's Miracle" animation? Compare ads for baby food
Baby food - products that are designed for a specific segment of the target audience. Her promo videos are often designed with messages of support for young parents, and frames with touching children are used as the main visual.
The neuromarketing company "Neurotrend" devoted a new rating of "NeuroVisor" to advertising baby food, which were broadcast on TV throughout the year. She also presented a detailed analysis of marketing techniques in a video from the Tyoma brand, one of the leaders in the list.
What is NeuroVisor?
This is a thematic neuromarketing rating of commercials that were broadcast on TV during the year. Analytics from the company "Neurotrend" is compiled on the basis of psychophysiological data obtained during the study of consumers at the time of viewing the advertisement. The video is shown to the respondents, whose reaction is measured using an EEG, an eye tracker and a polygraph. Each video is evaluated according to the same parameters - attention, interest, engagement, memorability.
Ads with young children evoke strong positive emotions in viewers, so this episode was
particularly enjoyable. The company's researchers analyzed ten commercials for baby food and are ready to tell you about the results. The ads handled the attention averagely — despite the fact that most of the ads, of course, overcame the average mark, no one became a leader.
Therefore, three "stars" become the best rating of this rating, and only two videos get it - "Miracle Baby" and Nutrilon 3. Interestingly, the leader in this criterion was an advertisement in which children were not involved at all, and its main character - famous cartoon character.
In terms of interest, the baby food ads performed well – the entire rating is green, and six out of ten ads received the maximum four “stars”. The leader in this criterion is again advertising with Mickey Mouse.
It seems that even an adult audience has fallen in love with this character so that advertisements with his participation are watched not only very carefully, but also with great interest.
Indicator "Emotional involvement"
The rating is full of green again, which means that more than half of the videos have confidently crossed the cherished line and received the well-deserved four "stars". This time, Bellakt and Mama Lama became the leaders, but for the first time in this issue, Miracle Baby with Mickey Mouse turned out to be an outsider. Apparently, a couple of happy kids in the frame were still not enough to win the hearts of the audience.
Despite the fact that the advertisement was interesting and caused a lot of positive emotions, it almost could not be remembered. The only video that managed not only to cross the line of average value, but also to fall into the three-star category, is "Agusha".
The rest of the commercials performed even below average, and "Wonder Kids" did not manage to find a place in the memory of the viewers at all - they did not receive a single star.
Analysis of the video "Darkness" from a behavioral psychologist
The video received 12 "stars", and four of them were received according to the criteria "Emotional involvement" and "Interest", and according to the indicators "Memorability" and "Cognitive attention" the values are not the highest - just two stars.
High levels of emotional involvement are associated with the main character of the video - a cute baby who evokes tenderness and a sense of belonging. The audience clearly liked the child in this video, they carefully examine it, the image causes joy.
Demonstration of educational toys for 3-4 seconds in engagement and positive emotion. However, attention here is somewhat reduced due to the division of attention focuses on an object and a person.
From 11 to 15 seconds, there is an increase in attention and positive emotions among the audience. What is it connected with? It is at this moment that the refrigerator opens and Tyoma products appear. Apparently, brand recognition has taken place, and the products evoke positive emotions.
This may indicate that viewers have had a positive experience with these products.
At the moment when the baby is eating, there is a peak of attention and expressed positive emotions close to delight. Perhaps for parents who have children of this age, and even with whims about food, the moment when the child eats something with pleasure gives joy no less than the child himself.
But at 16-17 seconds there is some tension, a negative emotion arises. This is not due to a visual image, but to cognitive dissonance, when the mother’s question “What to please?” a child who still does not know how to eat, says the phrase "Love will help." This is perceived unnaturally, causing resistance among the audience.
The last shots showing the product line evoke sympathy, positive emotions and interest. The audience looks at and reads the inscription: "Love will prompt." However, it is clear that initially the focus of attention when showing a product line is directed not to the product, but almost to the void. Why?
The fact is that before the change of plan, the focus of attention was right there on the face of the child, which was looked at attentively and with positive emotion. Poor packshot placement robs viewers of some of the time they could have
use to review the product line. This is also associated with a slight decrease in the indicator of cognitive attention in the last second of the video.
Thus, despite the good advertising rating, which is achieved mainly due to a cute baby and, apparently, a positive attitude towards the brand, there is an opportunity to change the perception of the video with the improvement of camera work: it is necessary to monitor the position of the gaze when changing plans, exclude situations where a significant part of the screen is a shadow, fuzzy image or void.
Dynamics of metrics while viewing ads:
a) change in engagement
b) change in attention
Infant formula ads will need to report the benefits of breastfeeding – Vademecum magazine
Infant formula ads will need to report the benefits breastfeeding
May 25, 2022, 15:06
The Council of the Federation (SF) at its meeting on May 25 approved a law on special conditions for advertising formulas for feeding children under one year of age.After the signing of the law by the President of the Russian Federation, formula manufacturers in commercials will be required to mention the benefits of breastfeeding. The bill was submitted to the State Duma in April 2019 - then it was proposed to completely ban advertising of infant milk formulas intended for feeding children aged 0 to 12 months at points of sale.
“Advertising of baby food products intended for use as breast milk substitutes and products included in the diet of a child during his first year of life must contain a statement about the benefits of breastfeeding children,” the opinion of the legal department of the Federation Council specifies.
The law is expected to come into force 90 days after its official publication. Russian President Vladimir Putin has not yet approved the law.
The draft law on amendments to the Federal Law "On Advertising" was submitted to the State Duma by a group of senators led by Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Galina Karelova in early April 2019. The authors of the initiative noted that an important factor in the refusal of mothers from breastfeeding in favor of artificial feeding of children under one year old is the advertising of breast milk substitutes, as well as the "marketing activities" of manufacturers.
According to the first version of the bill, advertising of infant formula for children from 0 to 12 months should not be placed at points of sale, and the ban did not apply to advertising in specialized medical publications and during medical events. The authors of the project also proposed to ban the presentation of artificial nutrition as a full-fledged substitute for women's milk.
“Of particular concern is the fact that 49.3% of practically healthy children in the maternity hospital received supplementary feeding with mixtures, and 3.7% of children were artificially fed from birth,” the explanatory note to the bill said. The initiative of the senators was then supported by the medical community, Rospotrebnadzor, as well as the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation and the Federal Research Center for Nutrition and Biotechnology.
In September 2020, the Government of the Russian Federation provided a response to the bill, which noted that breastfeeding could be supported not only by introducing a ban on advertising, but also by creating comfortable conditions for feeding, the appearance of social advertising. “The bill is aimed at promoting breastfeeding, which will help prevent the occurrence and reduce the risk of developing diseases in children. At the same time, it seems not obvious that it is the ban on advertising of breast milk substitutes that will have a positive impact on the promotion of breastfeeding,” the review said.
In addition, the government pointed to the lack of regulation of issues related to the presence of certain conditions and diseases in mothers that are a contraindication for breastfeeding. The bill was sent for revision.
After criticism from the government, the part about a complete ban on advertising of infant formula at the point of sale was removed from the document. By the third reading in the State Duma, the bill prescribed the wording about the need for advertisements to contain “statements about the benefits of breastfeeding children, information about age restrictions on the use of such products and a warning about the need for specialist consultations.”
In May 2022, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) described the situation with access to baby food as alarming. The Foundation reported a possible shortage of formulas and an increase in the cost of life-saving medical nutrition. The organization estimates that the price of food for children suffering from malnutrition could increase by 16% due to the situation in Ukraine and the suspension of formula production at Abbott Nutrition's US plant. Thus, in the next six months, about 600,000 children around the world may be left without specialized nutrition.
The most critical situation is observed in the USA. On May 18, President Joe Biden implemented the Defense Production Act (DPA), which is designed to make it easier for manufacturers to access ingredients for infant formula.