Gerber baby food sugar content

WHAT'S IN GERBER BABY FOODS? — Ingredient Inspector

Jan 9


Dana McCorvie


Information updated July 2022

POTENTIAL BABY FOOD TOXICITY: There is significant, current and scary data regarding the presence of ingredients which are not on any ingredient labels >> the toxic components which have seeped into almost all of the manufactured foods + beverages we consume and, by definition, most mass-produced baby foods. (Source: Subcommittee report 2021)

Here is additional information on toxins in many Baby Foods from Healthy Babies Bright Futures:


GERBER BABY FOODS is owned by Switzerland-based Nestlé.

Here’s a statement from the Nestlé Corporate Web site:

“We believe in the power of food to enhance quality of life. We constantly explore and aim to push the boundaries of what is possible with food, beverage and nutritional health solutions to contribute to a healthier future.”

With that declaration from Nestlé in mind, let’s look at what’s in the Nestlé-owned #1 Baby Food in the U.S., Gerber. (Source for Brand ranking: Statista 2022)

STARTING WITH HOMEMADE: For easy means of comparison to Gerber and other manufactured Baby Foods, here is a quick look at what ingredients are in homemade Baby Foods >> any ingredient not in homemade Baby Foods is designated as Not In Kitchen™ >> these are ingredients we would never use at home to make Baby Foods.

Homemade Baby Foods include real and whole foods alone or in combination including Fruits, Veggies, Grains, Fish+Fowl+Beef and possibly Dairy. Although some of these ingredients contain Naturally-occurring Sugars, there is no Added Sugar in homemade Baby Food, so Sugar is designated as an ingredient which is Not In Kitchen as we look at these Baby Foods.

Our goal is to find manufactured Baby Foods which are Closest To Homemade® >> Baby Foods whose ingredients are closest to those we would use at home to make any given item.

ALMOST ALL OF NESTLE GERBER BABY FOODS CONTAIN INGREDIENTS Not In Kitchen: Many Nestlé Gerber products contain FDA-recognized Chemical Preservatives including Ascorbic Acid, Citric Acid and Mixed Tocopherols. (Sources: Nestlé Gerber Web site 7/22; U.S. FDA 2022)

Unless specifically noted as ‘Naturally-occurring Citric Acid, Manufactured Citric Acid is made in a laboratory utilizing Aspergillus niger, a.k.a. Black Mold. (Source: National Library of Medicine U.S. Institutes of Health)

Learn more about potential reactions to Manufactured Citric Acid from a study — Potential role of the common food additive manufactured citric acid in eliciting significant inflammatory reactions contributing to serious disease states: A series of four case reports

From the study:

“Citric acid naturally exists in fruits and vegetables. However, it is not the naturally occurring citric acid, but the manufactured citric acid (MCA) that is used extensively as a food and beverage additive. Approximately 99% of the world’s production of MCA is carried out using the fungus Aspergillus niger since 1919. Aspergilus niger is a known allergen.”

The conclusion of this study is:

“We cannot conclusively affirm that Manufactured Citric Acid is the causative factor in the subjects’ inflammatory symptoms. However, our findings demonstrate a significant likelihood that MCA may be the culprit and are suggestive of valid concerns which warrant proper double blind studies to determine presence or absence of harm.”

Source: National Library of Medicine U.S. Institutes of Health

The greater issue of concern is Accumulation >> it wouldn’t necessarily be a big deal if we consumed these Chemical Preservatives once in a while, but they are pervasive, especially in leading brands which tend to be from the biggest food companies. Check your pantry and fridge for just Citric Acid and you may be shocked by what you find. Click here to learn more about the study:

MANUFACTURED citric acid

Seen below, NESTLE GERBER CHICKEN & CARROT RAVIOLI IS BANNED AT WHOLE FOODS. Whole Foods cites certain ingredients as “Unacceptable in food” including Bleached Flours and there is Bleached Wheat Flour in this Nestlé Gerber Toddler Food. (Source for banned ingredients: Whole Foods Web site 7/22)

THROUGH THE NOT IN KITCHEN FILTER, THESE INGREDIENTS ARE IDENTIFIED IN NESTLE GERBER CHICKEN & CARROT RAVIOLI: Sugar, Bleached Wheat Flour, Soybean Oil, Carrageenan, Maltodextrin, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Guar Gum, Xanthan Gum, Dextrose, Flavor, Chicken Flavor, Tapioca Dextrin, Dehydrated Carrots, Modified Cornstarch and Modified Potato Starch.

NOTE: The FDA does not allow products which contain the ingredient in this Nestlé Gerber product — Autolyzed Yeast Extract — to say ‘No MSG’ on the package front because they both contain potentially harmful Glutamates.

Many food manufacturers have switched from using MSG — which has considerable negative consumer attitudes and awareness — to seemingly less innocuous options for Taste Enhancers which naturally contain MSG such as Autolyzed Yeast Extract, which few people have heard of and it has the word ‘Yeast’ in it which we know is in bread and beer (so how bad could it be?).

From the FDA Web site 7/22: “MSG occurs naturally in ingredients such as hydrolyzed vegetable protein, autolyzed yeast, hydrolyzed yeast, yeast extract, soy extracts, and protein isolate . . . foods with any ingredient that naturally contains MSG cannot claim “No MSG” or “No added MSG” on their packaging.”

Nestlé states, “It is well known that what we eat and drink as children sets the foundation for our adult lives” . . . and then Nestlé adds four Sugar sources to a Main Meal Gerber offering for Toddlers . . . and Autolyzed Yeast Extract.

NESTLE ADDS SUGAR TO MAIN MEAL OFFERINGS ELSEWHERE IN THEIR PORTFOLIO: Here’s another example of a Nestlé product made for the U.S. with 6 instances of Sugars >> Nestlé Hot Pockets Big & Bold Chicken Bacon Ranch which is banned at Whole Foods (all Nestlé Hot Pockets are banned at Whole Foods) and contains multiple ingredients Not In Kitchen. (Source: Nestlé Hot Pockets Web site 1/22)

See the Ingredient Inspector review of Nestlé Hot Pockets:


These Gerber Puffs contain Organic Cane Sugar as their third ingredient plus they have two FDA-recognized Preservatives >> Citric Acid and Mixed Tocopherols. There are also other ingredients Not In Kitchen such as Acetic Acid which is likely there to simulate the tart flavor of missing Cranberries. The Citric Acid may also be included to simulate a fruit flavor >> Oranges >> but, regardless of why Nestlé included the Citric Acid, it is, nonetheless, an FDA-recognized Preservative.

NESTLE ADDS SUGAR TO MULTIPLE GERBER PRODUCTS: If Nestlé truly believes what they say >> “It is well known that what we eat and drink as children sets the foundation for our adult lives” (Source: Nestlé Web site 7/22) >> why do they add Sugar to these Gerber products for Toddlers?

Note about Invert Sugar which is in, for example, Gerber’s Puffs product (shown below) >> this is not the same as Sugar. Invert Sugars are commercial sugars that have been altered by a chemical process to provide a sugar with different properties that are more conducive to being utilized in mass-production products which sit on shelves for long periods of time. Invert Sugars are better at helping the product retain moisture which is why we often see Invert Sugar in items like these puffs which seek to maintain a soft texture.

Nestlé Gerber Peach Puffs are made with ‘Natural Peach Vanilla Flavor’ which includes ingredients such as Citric Acid, Acetic Acid and Invert Sugar.

CLOSEST TO HOMEMADE BABY FOODS: Following are some Baby Foods which are Closest To Homemade . . . and some notes on why others are not . . .

Neither money nor products are ever accepted to appear on the Closest To Homemade list

Demeter biodynamic® certification has zero tolerance for genetic modification including the use of any GMO organisms or ingredients. Biodynamic® products are sourced from biodynamic farms which practice regenerative farming >> items are grown and raised here in a way which helps heal the soil and the earth, so they not only taste great and have optimal nutrition but they help combat climate change >> they remove carbon from the atmosphere and put it back into the soil. Find out more about Biodynamic® farming from Demeter — the only certifier in the U.S. for Biodynamic® farms and products:


Neither money nor products are ever accepted to appear on the Closest To Homemade list

Neither money nor products are ever accepted to appear on the Closest To Homemade list

Neither money nor products are ever accepted to appear on the Closest To Homemade list

Neither money nor products are ever accepted to appear on the Closest To Homemade list

Neither money nor products are ever accepted to appear on the Closest To Homemade list

Neither money nor products are ever accepted to appear on the Closest To Homemade list

Neither money nor products are ever accepted to appear on the Closest To Homemade list

Neither money nor products are ever accepted to appear on the Closest To Homemade list

Neither money nor products are ever accepted to appear on the Closest To Homemade list

Neither money nor products are ever accepted to appear on the Closest To Homemade list

Neither money nor products are ever accepted to appear on the Closest To Homemade list

See the Ingredient Inspector review of Plum Organics Baby Food:

Seen below, Danone-owned Happy Family (Happy Baby, Happy Tot) is currently being sued for the presence of lead in some of their products >> lawsuit issued June 2021; read more here:

happy baby lawsuit

This has now spiraled into the consolidation of 17 individual lawsuits against Happy Baby:


See the Ingredient Inspector review of Earth’s Best Baby Food:

Here’s a handy summary chart of some Baby Food products which are Closest To Homemade:

Neither money nor products are ever accepted to appear on the Closest To Homemade list

Discover more food + beverages whose ingredients are Closest To Homemade in over 200+ categories:

And we leave you with a review of old Gerber Baby Food ads . . .


Dana McCorvie


Dana McCorvie







EWG's Food Scores | Gerber Baby Food, Broccoli, Carrot, Banana, Pineapple

EWG Overall Score Breakdown

The product score is based on weighted scores for nutrition, ingredient and processing concerns. Generally, nutrition counts most, ingredient concerns next and degree of processing least. The weighted scores are added together to determine the final score.

Lower concern

Higher concern

Lower concern

Higher concern

Read our full methodology

Considers calories, saturated fat, trans fat, sugar, sodium, protein, fiber and fruit, vegetable and nut content to differentiate between healthful and less healthful foods. For more information on nutrition concerns, read our full methodology.

The nutrition factors used for scoring Gerber Baby Food, Broccoli, Carrot, Banana, Pineapple

Positive factors

Fruit, vegetable, bean or nut content

Protein content

Fiber content

Omega-3 fatty acids

Negative factors

Calorie density

Sugar/low-calorie sweetener content

Sodium content

Saturated fat content

Trans fat content

Considers food additives, pesticides, hormones, antibiotics and contaminants like mercury and BPA, which can affect human health and the environment. For more information on ingredient concerns, read methodology.

This product is not certified organic []

Estimates how much the food has been processed. Considers many factors, chief among them, modification of individual ingredients from whole foods and number of artificial ingredients. For more information on processing concerns, read our full methodology.

Product has been classified as having no processing concerns

Products with no processing concerns identified are generally whole foods without additives.

Please note that EWG obtains the displayed images of products from third parties and that the product's manufacturer or packager may change the product's packaging at any point in time. Therefore, EWG assumes no responsibility for the accuracy of images presented.


0.0 0.0 % Total Fat 0 g
0. 0 0.0 % Protein 1 g


2.0 2.0 % Sodium 30 mg
Added Sugar Ingredients: none listed


10.0 10.0 % Dietary Fiber 1 g
Vitamin D (no value on present label)
4.0 4.0 % Iron
Potassium (no value on present label)

† Institute of Medicine. 2010. "Dietary Reference Intakes Tables and Application." Accessed April 8, 2014: link

Children's vegetable puree: edible or inedible?

/ All materials

GOST not Decree

The tasting of vegetable puree was conducted by specialists who have devoted many years to the development of baby food. Their opinion can be trusted. But we want to warn you: it is impossible to guarantee that the child will like the same puree as the experts (rather, you should rely on your own taste). Much more important is compliance with safety requirements. And most of the samples we tested meet the standards. Most, but not all. nine0003

Let's deal with the quality

Andrey Mosov, head of the expert department of NP Roskontrol, doctor:

“Such characteristics as sweetness, bitterness or “unexpressed taste” are subjective. Parents most often pay attention to the water content of the product. The presence of water in the composition of vegetable puree is not bad for the first feeding. You just need to understand that water is a cheaper raw material than a pumpkin.”

Irina Konokhova, leading expert of NP Roskontrol, doctor:

“Indeed, in most of the tested vegetable purees, the mass fraction of chlorides (i.e. salt) is 0.2%, and in the Babushkino Lukoshko, Heinz and Semper purees it is 0. 3%. Perhaps this is due to the higher natural content of sodium chloride in the feedstock, although it cannot be ruled out that salt was added. However, this intake of salt with complementary foods is acceptable, given the physiological need for sodium in children. The permissible mass fraction of chlorides in children's vegetable puree is 0.6%, and this figure is not exceeded in the tested samples. nine0016

How about sterility?

Let's start with the main thing: all samples meet the requirements of industrial sterility. Pesticides were not found in any of the samples, and all samples meet the standards in terms of nitrate content.

In addition, the puree was checked for 5-hydroxymethyl furfural content . It was not found in any of the samples.

All preservatives and sweeteners are prohibited in baby food. We checked the puree for the presence of sorbate, benzoate, sulfur dioxide (these are preservatives) and determined the mass concentration of sweeteners. Parents can be calm: no preservatives or sweeteners were found in the samples. nine0003

One in the jar, another on the label

Andrey Mosov, head of the expert department of NP Roskontrol, doctor:

in pumpkin puree should be 3.6% (in boiled pumpkin - 4.6%).

Summing up and drawing conclusions

Roskontrol experts noted that the manufacturer of puree Semper misleads the consumer about the presence of sugar in the composition. A mark "Bebivita" does not correspond to the actual product name - it is indicated in small print on the back of the label ("Complementary food product - mashed pumpkin and potatoes").

Puree “Spelyonok” has the inscription “fortified with vitamin C” illegally placed: the actual mass fraction of ascorbic acid in this sample is four times less than indicated in the label. Plus, on all samples, except for Bebivita puree, information about the nutritional value in terms of carbohydrate content is distorted. nine0003

Test details

August 27, 2014



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Name of contact person

Job title



Name of the declared product (goods)

I have read and accept the Rules for the Functioning of the Independent Quality Control System "Roskontrol".

Name of goods

Category of goods



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Processing. ..

WHO experts warn of excess sugar in baby food in EU countries

15 July 2019, 14:03

BRUSSELS, 15 July. /TASS/. A third of baby food produced in the European Union contains more calories than the norm, and food packages for children under six months of age claim such amounts of carbohydrates that are medically unacceptable for older children.

The violations were reported by the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Europe, who completed more than a year of research into the continent's baby food market. nine0003

"Proper nutrition during infancy and beyond remains the key to optimal growth and development of children and their healthy future," said Dr. Susanna Jakob, WHO Regional Director for Europe (Europe) in a press release. In particular, the expert notes, it contributes to the prevention of overweight and obesity, alimentary-dependent infectious diseases.

In order to objectify control over baby food produced in the European Union, WHO/Europe specialists have developed an original method for analyzing the substances (carbohydrates, trace elements, fats) contained in concentrates and liquid products, which allows you to quickly determine the compliance of the ingredients indicated on the labels with the contents. nine0003

With the help of this technique, the experts checked about 8 thousand items of food and drinks declared by manufacturers as complete baby food. In total, from November 2017 to January 2018, 516 stores were examined in three cities of the European Union (Budapest, Vienna, Sofia), as well as in Haifa.

According to the researchers, in each of the stores in these cities, a significant part of the baby food was positioned as food for children under the age of six months and older. nine0003

In three of these cities, at least half of the products surveyed had calorie content in mixtures exceeding 30%, the report notes. Experts have identified an increased sugar content in concentrated fruit and vegetable juices, artificial sweeteners. Such "additives", according to experts, can not only have a negative impact on the child's metabolism, but also affect the emerging taste preferences of the younger generation.

"Food for infants and young children needs to meet generally accepted nutritional and compositional recommendations," says Joao Breda, Head of the WHO European Office for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases.

Learn more