Does organic baby food have preservatives

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Shopping for food can be super confusing with all the labels out there that exist. As a person, you want to get the healthiest, most affordable food on the market, but you have to sift your way through sometimes bogus claims like “all-natural” versus what’s organic. And if you are a parent, you want to get the healthiest, most affordable food there is for your baby. Unfortunately, if you are a parent, that label-sifting only gets worse and the shopping only gets more confusing. 

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Luckily, we’re here to help you take matters into your own hands and understand the ins and outs of organic baby food. Is organic baby food really better? Which are the best organic baby food brands out there? And so many more questions that parents ask about organic baby food — all answered below.

Is Organic Baby Food Better?

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To understand the answer to this question, you first need to understand what it means to be organic. An organic label on food refers to an organism — plant, crop, food, or fabric — that has been produced without the acid of chemical or synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, and fungicides. Organic food cannot be genetically modified in any way (GMO) or use artificial growth hormones or antibiotics.

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Now, knowing that organic baby food is devoid of synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, GMOs, artificial growth hormones, and antibiotics, one could assume that organic baby food is generally better and safer for consumption.

In fact, according to the Organic Trade Association, organic food contains increased levels of nutrients and antioxidants, no use of artificial preservatives, colorings, added flavors, or ionizing radiation.

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In terms of what organically grown foods do for the environment, the organic regulations set in place for soil encourage biodiversity. Biodiversity is key to supporting ecosystem productivity and ensuring sustainability for all life.

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Are Organic Baby Foods Safe?

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Because organic baby food is made without synthetic fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, GMOs, artificial growth hormones, antibiotics, added flavors, artificial preservatives, colorings, and ionizing radiation, it is generally considered safe.

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 A big concern many parents have with conventional baby foods is their higher levels of pesticide exposure. According to the National Pesticide Information Center, infants and children are more susceptive to pesticides. Children take more breaths per minute, causing them to be exposed to more pesticides than an adult would be by the same food. Exposure to pesticides in young children and infants could negatively impact neurodevelopment.

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What Is the Best Organic Baby Food?

If you have already decided that you’d like to switch to (or start) your baby on organic baby food, then you might be trying to find out which brands are best. Every family is different and every baby is different, but here are some of the best-rated organic baby food brands:

  • Plum Organics
  • Earth’s Best
  • Gerber Organic
  • Sprout Organic Baby Food
  • Once Upon a Farm

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Is Gerber Baby Food Organic?

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Gerber is one of the most popular baby food brands in the United States, so it’s only natural that many parents wonder if it’s actually organic and therefore, safe.

Conventional Gerber baby food is not organic. However, Gerber does have an organic line, aptly called Gerber Organic. Nicknamed “farm to highchair,” Gerber claims their organic line is full of USDA Certified Organic products with no added starch and that are non-GMO. The Gerber Organic line features organic baby foods like organic cereal, organic baby food, organic beverages, organic formula, and organic snacks.

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Does Organic Baby Food Have Arsenic?

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A study published in late 2019 found that 95 percent of tested baby foods in the U.S. contained some amount of toxic metals; among these heavy metals was arsenic.

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The report stated, “Even in trace amounts found in food, these contaminants can alter the developing brain and erode a child’s IQ. The impacts add up with each meal or snack a baby eats.”

Among the baby foods tested, rice-based foods were by far and away the biggest culprits of the highest levels of heavy metals. The report found that sweet potato products and fruit juices were also high in trace amounts of heavy metals.

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“These popular baby foods are not only high in inorganic arsenic, the most toxic form of arsenic, but also are nearly always contaminated with all four toxic metals,” the report continued of infant rice cereal, rice meals, and rice-based snacks.

You may be wondering: Is organic baby food also affected by these numbers? A 2012 study found that brown rice syrup, which is a common ingredient in organic baby foods, was also a culprit of arsenic. To add insult to injury, an organic milk formula for toddlers was found to have inorganic arsenic levels six times what the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) designates as safe.

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Do Organic Baby Foods Have Metals?

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Arsenic is not the only toxic metal that has found its way into our children’s food. The same 2019 report found that of 168 baby foods from major U.S. manufacturers, 95 of them contained lead, 73 percent contained arsenic, 75 percent contained cadmium, and 32 percent contained mercury. One-fourth of all 168 tested baby foods were found to contain all four metals.

Lead is also a concern for baby food. Apparently 1 in 5 baby foods tested contained 10 times the 1-ppb limit of lead deemed safe. Though no level of lead is actually “safe,” it is still shocking that baby food, of all products, was 10 times over the acceptable limit.

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Can I Get Organic Baby Food With WIC?

The Women, Infants, and Children Nutrition Program (WIC) does allow people to buy baby food — meats, cereal, rice and vegetables. However, in all three categories, organic versions are on the “not approved” list for WIC.

However, according to USDA, federal regulations state that WIC participants “will be able to purchase organic fruits and vegetables with their cash value vouchers or organic fresh bananas with the infant checks.

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Can Dogs Eat Organic Baby Food?

If your dog has ever had to go to the emergency veterinary clinic, you may have noticed that the vets fed your dog organic or conventional baby food. According to American Kennel Club, vets sometimes do this in emergency situations because it is easy to swallow and digest, making it an effective way for vets to administer oral medications.

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While it’s not recommended to feed your dog baby food as an alternative to dog food, if you have to feed your dog organic baby food, AKC suggests Stage II meats — chicken, lamb, and turkey. Organic baby food is not recommended for dogs as an alternative to dog food because it is not fortified with the nutrients and vitamins that dogs specifically require. If you are going to feed your dog organic baby food, stay away from anything with garlic or onion powder as an ingredient.

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How to Make Organic Baby Food

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Knowing the state of both conventional and organic baby foods these days, making your own organic baby food at home might be the best, safest, and healthiest option for you and your family. Luckily, it’s easy to make organic baby food at home, as long as you buy organic ingredients. 

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Organic baby food is basically puree or a mash. To make organic baby food, start with any organic fruit or vegetable as a base. If you prefer to add more nutrition into your baby’s food, you can blend a grain like lentils into the mix. You can also mix veggies and fruits together.

According to Mother Nature Network, start off your organic baby food recipe with certified organic fruits and veggies. You’ll want to peel the skins and scrub them well. If there are any seeds or stems, remove them. Boil or steam your produce, then once it’s soft, drain and let it cool. Use a fork to mash up the boiled produce, then use a blender to get the consistency and texture to something a baby could eat. That’s it! Easy, right? Serve ASAP or if you’re saving it, freeze the homemade organic baby food. Frozen organic baby food can last in the freezer for up to two months.


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Latest What Does Organic Mean? News and Updates


    Bought vs Homemade Baby Food – Pros and Cons – Aster & Oak

    Baby food is almost as varied and flavorful as adult food now — anything that can be pureed can be put in a jar and called baby food. Once our little one has reached the food stage at around six months, it’s time to make a decision. Should you buy your baby food or make it at home? We’ve assembled the pros and cons of each option to help make the choice between Bought vs Homemade Baby Food a bit easier for you.

    Store Bought Baby Food Pros and Cons

    Store-bought baby food may be the food of choice for most parents because of its convenience and variety — there’s an enormous wall of it in nearly every grocery store, and it comes in every flavor imaginable.


    • Convenience — You don’t have to worry about refrigeration (before you open the jar) or Tupperware with loose lids making a mess in your bag.
    • Portability — It’s easy to store and carry jars of baby food in your diaper bag or purse. All you need is a spoon, and it’s dinner time for baby.


    • Cost — In the long run, jarred baby food ends up costing more than the homemade alternatives.
    • Waste — Disposable packaging can be wasteful, and if it’s not cleaned out well, it’s often not recyclable either.
    • Preservatives — The only ‘preservative’ you should see in baby food is Vitamin C, but jarred food can contain a variety of listed or unlisted preservatives to make the food shelf stable.
    • Contaminants — Contaminants can make their way into store-bought baby foods and can even show up in the water used to make it. In 2014, the Environmental Defense Fund found lead in some packaged baby foods.

    Jarred baby food can be a great tool if you’re traveling or away from home, but is it really the best option for every meal?

    Homemade Baby Food Pros and Cons

    You can make almost anything that you’re eating into baby food as long as you don’t mind skipping the salt and other seasonings.


    • You Know What’s in the Food — Nothing goes into your homemade baby food that you’re not aware of.
    • Cost — Overall, making your baby food ends up being less expensive, even if you have to buy a blender or food processor to get started.
    • Variety — You can make up food combinations to cater to your infant’s tastes and nutritional needs without having to open multiple jars.


    • Safety — Jarred baby food is pasteurized, killing off any bacteria that might appear in the finished product. Homemade baby food is not.
    • Storage — Homemade baby food has no preservatives, so it doesn’t keep as well. It can be frozen, but should only be made and stored in small batches.

    If you’ve got the time and the inclination, making your baby food can be an excellent option for providing your infant with healthy and organic food.

    Making Your Own Tips and Tricks

    If you’ve never tried making your own baby food, here are a few tips and tricks to get you started:

    1. Steam or microwave fruits and veggies to soften them while still retaining most of their nutrients. Boiling works too, but many of the nutrients can leach out into the cooking water.
    2. Don’t add anything — you don’t need any extra flavors or additives. Your baby’s tastes are very bland at the moment, plus most of these flavor additives also add salt or sugar which are unhealthy for your baby.
    3. Mash. Add small amounts of water or breast milk and mash the fruits or vegetables until they’re smooth. You can also spin these foods up in a blender or food processor to get a smooth, even texture.

    That’s all there is too it. Baby food is pretty simple. If you’re making up large batches of food at once for convenience, pour the extra food into an ice cube tray to make individual sized freezer portions. Once frozen, they can be transferred into a zip lock bag for storage for up to a month.

    Homemade Baby Food Recipes

    If you’re just getting started with baby food, here are a few homemade recipes to get you going.

    Stage 1 — These infant foods should include only one ingredient, not including the water or breast milk used to dilute the mash. Not only does it make it easier to introduce new foods to the baby, but it also makes it easier to determine if your child has any food allergies that you need to be concerned about.

    Avocado Mush — All you need to do is halve your avocado, scoop out the meat of the fruit and mash it until smooth. Avocados are very soft anyway, so there’s no need to do anything extra to it.
    Banana Mush — Same as the avocado. Peel, mash, serve.
    Applesauce — Peel your apples and cut them into chunks. Boil or steam until tender, then mash or blend until smooth.

    Stage 2 This is when you can start getting a little more adventurous with the food combinations, but you still don’t want to add any salt or additional flavors. Start combining fruits and vegetables like:

    • Apples and bananas
    • Apples and plums
    • Bananas and blueberries
    • Apples and carrots
    • Peaches and sweet potatoes
    • Avocado and peaches

    The list is endless. Just make sure you’re using foods that you’ve already introduced the baby to in case of food allergies.

    Stage 3 — Now that your baby is used to a variety of different foods, it’s time to start looking into chunkier foods. You can start introducing finger foods here as well.

    The food you feed your baby, much like the rest of your parenting decisions, is a personal choice. If you have the time, making homemade food can be a healthier alternative to store-bought baby food, but the jarred stuff isn’t all bad.

    90,000 truth about what's in the ingredients.

    - Ekaterina Borisovna, there is a lot of debate about the benefits of baby food from a jar. Let's try to confirm or dispel the myths and tell parents the whole truth about children's canned products.

    Myth #1. Baby food in jars is made from vegetables and fruits that are not suitable for sale in their natural form. Raw materials of poor quality underlie it.

    - Not true. The production of canned baby food is a complex technological process consisting of several mandatory steps, including a careful selection of raw materials. The quality and safety of baby food initially depends on this. nine0005

    When sorting , all vegetables and fruits with any defects are utilized, and a batch of raw materials of uniform quality is formed.
    Sorting includes:

    • visual assessment of raw materials;
    • removal of non-standard, unripe, moldy and broken fruits. Grouping by size and weight is not carried out: these indicators do not affect the quality of finished baby food.

    When cleaning raw materials , all inedible and low-nutrient parts are removed from fruits and vegetables - the skin, seeds, stalks, the core is removed from apples and pears. Parents can be sure that their baby will receive only the most useful and nutritious. nine0005

    Myth No. 2: The quality of baby food in jars is doubtful - it contains a lot of preservatives that are dangerous for babies.

    - The inclusion of preservatives in baby food is prohibited by law , at least in our country. But the use of vitamin D or ascorbic acid is allowed. They do not harm babies, but significantly increase the benefits of the product.

    - Ekaterina Borisovna, however, it is known that without preservatives, the shelf life of products is reduced. nine0004

    — A long shelf life of baby food without preservatives is ensured by aseptic production technology, product sterilization and vacuum packaging, which protects it from harmful microorganisms. The cotton that we hear when opening the jar is an indicator of the correct packaging and safety of the product.

    Myth #3. There are other unnatural ingredients in canned food without preservatives that can be harmful to a child's health. nine0008

    - The complete composition of baby food must be clearly stated on the packaging by the manufacturer. Corn starch or rice flour can be added as safe thickeners to give the desired consistency. But the range of children's canned food allows you to choose products without these additives. The presence of spices is not forbidden, but their list is limited and strictly regulated.

    technological substances to impart aroma and enhance color and taste.

    Myth #4.
    Flavor enhancers are added to canned food, otherwise children refuse to eat it.

    - Production technologies allow extracting the maximum of useful elements from raw materials and at the same time preserving its taste. For example, , in order not to destroy biologically active substances, raw materials for baby puree are not boiled , but in order to obtain a delicate texture and not spoil the taste, it is wiped in special mashing machines in an atmosphere of steam or inert gases. Such subtleties of production explain the unique taste of canned puree, which you cannot get at home on your own. nine0005

    Read also
    • how to introduce puree into complementary foods

    Myth #5. Canned baby food is expensive and costs parents more than homemade purees.

    - Seasonal harvest is inexpensive, making mashed potatoes seems like an elementary task. But there are few fruits of our own in our country. Harvesting a year in advance is a difficult and costly business (you will need a capacious freezer). Preserving vegetables is even more difficult, you need at least a basement. In addition, the amount of vitamins with this method of harvesting decreases in proportion to the storage time (autumn apples lose most of their useful properties by spring). nine0005

    — Fruit and vegetable sections are filled in stores all year round.

    Yes, but children need variety in their diet. Today an apple, tomorrow a pear, the day after tomorrow an apricot. For example, to prepare 100 g of apricot puree, you will need at least 300 g of apricots without peel and stone. For the price, this is comparable to the price of a jar, but you still need time to buy and cook.

    And the most important thing is safety. At the plant, raw materials for baby food are thoroughly tested for the content of toxic substances. The standards for the content of pesticides, nitrates and other chemical additives for sale in the store are different, and no one guarantees that the zucchini bought from the grandmother on the market did not grow in the zone of increased radiation or was not fed with nitrogenous fertilizers. Therefore industrial canned puree is safer than , and at a price that's about what it comes out to be.

    Myth #6. There are few vitamins and nutrients in a jar of complementary foods, as they are destroyed during the conservation process.

    - Vegetables and fruits are full of healthy nutrients during the harvest season. But during long-term storage, they lose almost everything except fiber and starch. In addition to this, the fruits are irrevocably destroyed during heat treatment at home - for example, during cooking, up to 20% of vitamin B and more than 50% of ascorbic acid are lost.

    The picture is quite different in the factory production of complementary foods, when the useful properties of the raw materials are preserved to the maximum. In addition, complementary foods can be additionally saturated with vitamins and trace elements. Food packaging always indicates their presence and the percentage of the daily dose.

    Myth #7.
    Food from a jar provokes the development of allergies. nine0008

    - The risk of developing an allergic reaction to food in a jar is no higher than to food prepared by oneself. If a child is allergic to pumpkin, then boiled, steamed and canned, there will be a reaction to it. Another question is that an auxiliary component of canned puree (for example, starch or ascorbic acid) can cause allergies. In this case, it is safer to choose products without such additives.

    Often confused with allergies food intolerance . The symptoms are similar, but the reasons for the latter lie in non-compliance with the rules of complementary foods (for example, they gave a new product ahead of schedule or immediately in large quantities). Without knowing it, mothers expose the child's body to excessive stress when the baby's enzyme system is not yet ready to process the edible "gift". For this reason, the child's body becomes covered with a rash, problems with the tummy, regurgitation and other delights appear.

    Complementary foods: what you need to know

    • It is worth trying a new product in small quantities.
    • The daily dose is increased gradually.
    • Red cheeks, rashes on the arms and under the knees - a reason to exclude the product from the child's diet and consult a doctor.

    Myth #8. There are many counterfeits of baby food on the market, and products of well-known brands are more often counterfeited. Parents in the store will not be able to distinguish a fake from the original.

    — Control over the quality of nutrition for children is multifaceted and is carried out at all stages - from the procurement of raw materials to the sale in the store. Compliance with safety standards during production and storage, the usefulness of the product in terms of protein, carbohydrate and fat components, the concentration of vitamin elements and other components declared on the package are monitored. Organoleptic testing determines the quality of products by taste, aroma, appearance, consistency.

    Unfortunately, despite the fairly strict control, information about reviews from the sale of low-quality baby food periodically pops up. Probably, this cannot be avoided, as well as the falsification of medicines and other goods. But you can protect yourself as much as possible from acquiring fakes. nine0005

    How to choose quality baby food in jars

    • It is better to buy food in large specialized stores, pharmacies.
    • Consider value for money. If the price is significantly lower than usual, do not rush to buy an annual supply, study the composition and the certificate of conformity for the product.
    • Carefully inspect the packaging. Do not take a damaged package with traces of worn paint, smeared or blurry letters, a swollen or crumpled jar. nine0021
    • Always try a new product before giving it to a child. You can easily distinguish changes in taste, smell, texture.

    Myth #9. Manufacturers add starch to thickening canned food, but they do not always report this on the packaging. This is true? And will the iodine test show the presence of starch?

    - In stores, a fairly wide range of baby purees with and without the addition of starch. A significant component of starch is glucose , the main source of our vital energy. Starch is often a natural product. In nature, there are many plants and products from which starch can be extracted: potato, corn, rice and wheat are widely known.

    The debate about the dangers or benefits of starch can go on forever. Children are able to absorb starch from birth, it's all about its volume. A small amount of thickener in baby food will be absorbed by the child. Harmful daily proportion of starch - from 30 g.

    Starch is included in 90% of the food that a person consumes in everyday life. You should not be afraid of it, but you need to be careful, because starch:

    • in case of excessive use and individual tendency causes constipation;
    • is capable of provoking an allergic reaction;
    • increases the calorie content of food and promotes weight gain;
    • contains a lot of carbohydrates, but is useless as a source of vitamins. nine0021

    Therefore, if a child has a tendency to allergic reactions, overweight or constipation, you should not use food with the addition of starch. Children with underweight or unstable stools may well try it.

    Reaction with iodine - a qualitative reaction to starch with the formation of a dark blue spot. This is a really affordable method of checking baby food. But before using it, you should study which products contain starch. It is possible that a positive reaction will not be on an artificially added component, but on natural starch. A lot of natural starch in potatoes, corn, legumes, carrots, zucchini, pumpkin, banana and unripe apples. And it is natural that the reaction with iodine in the puree of these products will be positive. But in the composition of mashed broccoli or white cabbage, starch should not be, unless the manufacturer specifically added it. nine0005

    Myth #10. The child gets used to eating from a jar and for a long time refuses the "adult" table.

    - Opposite. Children in infancy and under 18 months are not allowed to give sugar, salt, seasonings and spices. Therefore, until the mother has included these “adult” supplements in her child’s diet, purchased food will remain his favorite food. But having tried salty or sweet once, the baby begins to demand a new product and refuse fresh canned food. nine0005

    Children and adults have different perceptions of tastes. Therefore, you can not give the baby a dish that you like to taste, sweeten and add salt to food. When the time comes and the child is ready to receive products close to the common table, he himself will gladly refuse fresh jars, trying more and more new tastes.

    — Ekaterina Borisovna, can canned baby food completely replace homemade baby food?

    - Of course, and quite successfully. Regardless of the season, it is possible to provide the baby with a complete and varied diet only with the help of canned food. Yes, and it is impossible to repeat the taste of factory food on your own due to the special manufacturing technology. In addition, despite the fact that the assortment of fruits and vegetables in the store is quite large even in winter, their taste and useful properties, and most importantly, safety, are very doubtful. Of course, it is worth remembering about the time that a mother can devote to a baby, instead of puzzling over the variety of menus and cooking. nine0005

    — Why are MAMAKO ® baby purees good for children? What are their advantages?

    — Very often, kids get bored with the taste of monocomponent puree, and not everyone eats cottage cheese willingly either. Puree MAMAKO ® consists of fruits and tender goat curd without thickeners, preservatives or other artificial additives. Such a puree with a delicate creamy taste can be introduced into the diet from 6 months, it is more nutritious and serves as an additional source of calcium, which is necessary during the period of intensive growth. Therefore, along with monocomponent purees, I always recommend including such interesting, and most importantly - without sugar and thickeners, healthy products in the child's diet. nine0005

    I would like to once again appeal to young parents - be above prejudice. Canned food is simple, convenient, useful and safe. We all use the achievements of progress for our comfort: cellular communications, microwave ovens, all kinds of gadgets have firmly entered our lives. So industrial baby food was created for the convenience of young parents. It is developed taking into account the physiological needs of the baby, meets all safety requirements and contains more useful nutrients due to gentle heat treatment than puree cooked at home from untested vegetables and fruits. nine0005

    Press release | HiPP Organic

    HiPP is today one of the world's leading manufacturers of organic baby food. For more than 120 years, mothers around the world have trusted HiPP quality, with each jar of our food undergoing over 260 quality checks.

    Over the past few years, according to Euromonitor research, HiPP has been recognized as the No. 1 brand in organic baby food in the world!*

    All HiPP organic products do not contain artificial colors, artificial flavors, preservatives and other ingredients prohibited in the production of baby food according to Russian legislation and the requirements of European legislation EU-BIO. nine0005

    HiPP ensures that organic farming ensures that “only the best of nature” ends up in baby food jars and that the production process is environmentally friendly. Children need healthy foods that taste good and don't contain any unwanted ingredients. Thus, organic food is the right choice for babies. There are clear legal requirements for the process of organic farming and processing of raw materials, while strict control over compliance with these requirements is carried out. nine0005

    HiPP's own test laboratory, which is one of the leading analytical laboratories in Europe, plays a decisive role in producing exceptionally high quality products. A testing lab can detect a pinch of salt in an Olympic swimming pool 2 meters deep, 50 meters long and 25 meters wide.

    For young children, the most important thing is that the food offered to them is tasty. But their parents are more interested in the origin, production characteristics and quality of food. With HiPP products, they can be sure of science-based nutritional value, age-appropriate formulations and strictly controlled organic quality. “We attach particular importance to the selection of raw materials and their diversity. It all starts with the choice of soil and seeds, which, of course, are not chemically treated. In this way, fruits and vegetables ripen at a natural pace for better flavor development.” nine0005

    In developing new products for our little consumers, we take into account their tastes and present to the market not only the traditional range of products for first foods, but also unique products to expand the diet of babies:

    "White Carrot" and "Corn" - low-allergenic purees for the first feeding, HiPP Cream Soups - the perfect solution for lunch. Their composition includes rapeseed oil - a source of Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which help the proper development of the baby's brain and nervous system. In addition, HiPP organic soups are served pureed, which is the optimal consistency for feeding crumbs up to a year. nine0005

    The company also introduces the HiPP Combiotic category of breast milk substitutes, known in the market for its unique combination of live lactobacilli L.fermentum®, specially isolated from breast milk, and prebiotic dietary fibers similar to those found in breast milk.

    Resource management, environmental protection and animal welfare are our priorities. HiPP stands for sustainable production. HiPP jars are recyclable for 98% and 70% are made from recycled materials. Cardboard packaging elements are also made from recycled materials. In 2021, a special label will appear on HiPP products, which will display the rules for disposal and the degree of recyclability of each type of packaging.

    Learn more