When did gerber baby food start

Gerber Baby Food | Encyclopedia.com


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The world's largest producer of baby-food products, Gerber Products, Inc., had a modest beginning in the summer of 1927 when Daniel Frank Gerber (1898–1974) and Dorothy Gerber asked the Fremont Canning Company to relieve them of the chore of hand-straining food for their infant daughter, Sally. The Gerbers had already been making use of Fremont's services to produce a line of canned fruits and vegetables. The success of that venture led the Gerbers to manufacture a line of baby food as well. The first flavors, introduced in late 1928, were strained peas, prunes, carrots, spinach, and beef vegetable soup. To promote the new products, the Gerbers placed advertisements using a picture of a baby's face, later called the "Gerber baby," in magazines ranging from physicians' journals to periodicals for homemakers. The model for the Gerber baby was Ann Turner Cook, who grew up to be a mystery novelist and English teacher; her portrait was sketched in charcoal by Dorothy Hope Smith Barlow. Gerber adopted it as its official trademark in 1931.

By 2000, Gerber was making 190 food products for distribution to 80 countries, including its Tender Harvest line of organic baby foods, introduced in 1997. The product mix includes puréed fruits and vegetables as well as cereals and teething biscuits. Its Consumer Relations Department responds to 800,000 consumer questions a year. The department was set up in 1938, with Dorothy Gerber personally responding to each letter. In 1960, the company expanded its line of products to market baby-care items such as bottles, teethers, and breast-feeding accessories. Its line of Wellness products includes lotions, baby powders, shampoos, and vitamins. The Gerber Life Insurance Company, a subsidiary, was established in 1967. It is one of the largest providers of insurance to juveniles, with more than two million policies in force, for a value of $9 billion.

In 1994, Gerber merged with Sandoz, Ltd. The company then became part of the Novartis group of companies formed in 1996 by the merger of Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz. Gerber is headquartered in Fremont, Michigan.

—Edward Moran

Gerber. http://www.gerber.com (accessed January 23, 2002).

Gerber Products Company. The Story of an Idea and Its Role in the Growth of the Baby Foods Industry. Fremont, MI: Gerber Products Company, 1953.

Bowling, Beatniks, and Bell-Bottoms: Pop Culture of 20th-Century America

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The Food Timeline--baby food history notes

The Food Timeline--baby food history notes FoodTimeline library
Food Timeline FAQs: baby food

Peoples of all times and places have been feeding their babies. With the exception of mother's (or wet nurse's) milk, what was served and how it was made, was a function of culture, cuisine and economic status. Babies in Ancient Egypt thrived on different foods from those in Medieval England, Jomon Japan, 18th century Russia and early 20th century Kenya.

Up until the middle of the 19th century [in industrialized nations] infant food was generally made at home. Recipes and instructions for feeding babies were sometimes found in cookbooks. These foods were often grouped with invalid cookery. Why? They were generally thought to have similar properties. Both were highly nutritious and easily digested. Finely ground grains (oats, rice, barley) mixed with a liquid are found in most cultures. Example: Cookery for Children, Sarah Josepha Hale, 1852.

Food historians generally agree that manufactured baby food, as we know it today, was a byproduct of the European Industrial Revolution. The first mass-produced baby foods were invented by scientists/nutrition experts and manufactured in the mid-19th century by innovative companies. These were infant formulas, substitutes for mother's milk. At that time, tainted milk was often connected with infant mortality. Then, as now, there was much controversy regarding the use of artifical baby food. Ideas regarding amounts, timing, and what consitituted a healthy diet have likewise changed.

By the 1920s infant foods, which had grown to encompass ready-made baby cereals, fruits and vegetables, were promoted as convenience items. Food companies capitalized on "modern" notions of scientific feeding and the superiority of manufactured items over those homemade. Interestingly enough? American consumers did not immediately embrace these new foods. It took some very agressive marketing to win them over.

Some foods we regard today as sweets were originally marketed as health foods for children. Two cases in point: malted milk and chocolate pudding.


  • "History of the Development of Infant Formulas," Infant Formula: Evluating the Safety of New Ingredients, Food and Nurition Board
  • "Infant and Child Nutition," Cambridge World History of Food, Kiple & Ornelas, Volume Two, section VI. 7 (p. 1444-1453)
    ---traces the history of infant feeding from prehistory to present; includes extensive bibliography for further study
  • Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, Andrew F. Smith, Volume 1 "Baby Food," (p. 57-59_ ---excellent overview; includes selected bibliography
  • History of the feeding bottle, The Baby Bottle Museum, UK


"Perhaps not surprisingly, a major step in capitalization on the new advances in chemistry by marketing proprietary infant foods came from the scientist who laid the foundations of the New Newtrition, Baron Justus von Liebig. If indeed foods were constituted of protein, carbohydrates, and fats, could these nutrients not be combined into a replica of mother's milk? Thus, in 1867 the Baron introduced Liebig's Soluble Food for Babies in the European market. By the next year it was being manufactured and sold in London by the Liebig's Registered Concentrated Milk Company and within a year after that it had migrated to the United States. Liebig did not challenge the prevalent notion that mother's milk was the perfect infant food. Rather, he claimed that he had succeeded in concocting a substance, at first liquid, then powdered, whose chemical makeup was virtually identical to that of mother's milk. Liebig's Food was soon followed by a host of imitators. Some contained dried milk and called only for the addition of water. Others, like Liebig's original formula, were to be added to diluted milk. Soon some doctors were proclaiming these foods to be superior to the milk of wet nurses."
---Revolution at the Table: The Transformation of the American Diet, Harvey Levenstein [Oxford University Press:New York] 1988 (p. 122-3)

About Justus von Liebig.

"In 1867, the Swiss merchjant Henri Nestle invented the first artificial infant food, and in 1873, 500,000 boxes of Nestle's Milk Food were sold in the United States as well as in Europe, Argentina, and the Dutch East Indies. By the late 1880s, several brands of mass- produced foods, mostly grain mixtures to be mixed with milk or water, were on the market. These included Liebig's Food, Carnick's Soluble Food, Eskay's Albumenized Food, Imperial Granum, Wagner's Infant Food and Mellin's Food. Mellin's was perhaps the most widely used."
---Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, Andrew F. Smith editor [Oxford University Press:New York] 2004, volume 1 (p. 57)

"In 1867, Henri Nestle, a pharmacist, was asked by a friend to make something for an infant who could not digest fresh cow's milk...Nestle created a milk food form crubs made from baked malted wheat rusks mixed with sweetened condensed milk. This granular brown powder was the first instant weaning food. He dalled his alternaive to breast-feeding Farine Lactee Henri Nestle and adopted his family's coat of arms, a bird's nest, as a trademark...Nestle sold his company to Jules Monnerat in 1874."
---Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, Andrew F. Smith editor [Oxford University Press:New York] 2004, volume 2 (p. 180)

[1874] MELLIN'S FOOD/United Kingdom
"The exhibits of Mellin's food in the Mechanics and Instituted exhibitions now in progress have attracted the attention of thousands of visitors, and the people are beginning to examine and discuss the suggestive topic which the displays suggest. Time and experience have put this food to a successful test, and its important bearing upon the rising and future generations cannot be oversetimated. Its history proves again that it is almost invariably the case that a really good article is slow in making its way into the favor of the public, but, when finally its excellences are known, its success is assured and the rapidity of its introduction marvellous. This is notably the case with the article which is known as Mellin's food, and which is now being so generally received into public favor. For years it has been a deplorable but acknowldged fact, that an alarming percentage of children die before reaching the age of five years. In England, the number of children that die under one year old is in the ratio of one to every twelve births...Liebig's food,...came the nearest to a practical solution of the difficult problem, but it was unsuitable for distribution and exportation, and much trouble and a sacrifice of time were entailed by its daily preparation. G. Mellin of London, following Liebig's suggestions, produced an article which is portable, easy of preparation, and which gives entire satisfaction. Mellin's food, requires neither boiling nor straining, that having already been done, but is almost instantly prepared for use by dissolving a certain quantity in hot water and then adding cold milk. Analysis of the food after mixing shows it to contain a large proportion of grape sugar, which enters so largely into the composition of mother's milk, together with a large amount of protein and soluble phosphates, indicating flesh and bone forming nutrients of the highest type...Thus sucenc e finally conquered all difficulties, and produced a food that all mothers will hail with delight. Not until 1874 did it make its appearance in this country, and then through the enterprises of Theodore Metcalf & Co., who, in response to the growing demand, obtained the North American agency. In order to supply the greatly increased demand in Europe and America for this food the proprietor was obliged to erect larger works, and since 1877 the food has been regularly supplied....The best medical men in the country now acknowledge its merits and prescribe it in cases where formerly they were almost helpless."
---"A Public Benefactor: An Exhibit at the Fair--Mellin's Food for Infants...", Boston Daily Globe, November 6, 1881 (p. 5)

"The Duty of Every Mother and especially those who are charged with the delicate and great responsibility of rearing hand-fed children, is to investigate the merits of the best artificial food for the preservation of infant life. The universal testimony of our most skillful physicians, and of thousands of mothers who have practially tested it, demonstrated beyond a doubt that Mellin's Food for Infants is the best, and contains exactly the ingredients necessary to insure the life and health of the little ones to develop them in body and mind, and secure robust health in childhood, manhood and womanhood. "
---display ad, Theodore Metcalf & Co., 39 Tremont St., Boston Mass., "Sole agents for the United States and British America," Boston Daily Globe, April 11, 1880 (p. 30) [NOTE: this ad contains physican testimonials.]

"By the 1890s the most popular by far of the powders to be added to milk was Mellin's Food, developed in England and manufactured in Boston, whose advertisements claimed that it was "the genuine Liebig's Food," The best known of the dried-milk products was another European import, Nestle's Milk Food, which was manufactured and distributed under license by a New York City firm. Advertisements for various proprietary infant foods because well-nigh ubiquitious by the 1890s....Nestle's ("Best for Babies") said it was better for babies than milk, for "impure milk in hot weather is one of the chief causes of sickness among babies."...A favorite promotional technique was to offer free samples by mail to the readers of middle-class magazines. Perhaps the most effective with middle-class mothers. ..were the free handbooks on infant care feeding distributed by the companies. Mellin's with its own press, was especially active in this field. The handbooks explained the chemistry of milk and feeding in clear but relatively sophisticated language, adding an aura of science to the food they were promoting. Not only did they prove effective in convincing mothers of the efficacy of proprietary infant foods, they convinced many doctors as well...Thus, by the 1980s a number of sources spread the growing impression that artificial feeding was both scientific and modern."
---Revolution at the Table: The Transformation of the American Diet, Harvey Levenstein [Oxford University Press:New York] 1988 (p.124)
[NOTE: This book contains much more information on this topic. If you need more details ask your librarian can help you obtain a copy.

How much did these powdered formulas cost? Advertisement published in the New York Times, Marh 30, 1884 (p. 3) states: Nestle's Milk Food, 70 cents--$1. 00; mellin's Food, 30 cents-50 cents. Horlick's Food, 65 cents-$1.00.

Our survey of historic American newspapers reveals the Boston-based firm Dolibar, Goodale & Co. [41 Central Warf] was a distribtor for Mellin's in 1884. Articles and advertisements confirm Doliber continued to distribute Mellin's food at least until 1906.

"Farinaceous Foods. There are many farinaceious forms of food prepared fo r the use of infants and children. Probably the most valuable of them are those made according to the Leibig process. The starch of the grain from wich such foods are prepared is, int he process of manufacture, changed into soluble detrine, or sugar (glucose), by the action of the diastase of malt: the very thing which an infant cannot do. When we consider that the digestion of starch in the alimentary canal consists of this change into glucose, and that it is effected principally by the saliva and the pancreatic juice, the significance of the value of such foods will be seen. ..Mellin's food and malted mlk are prepared according to the Liebig process. in them the starch has been converted into soluble matter by teh action of the ferment of maltk. It is really a partial predigestion. Mellon's food does not contain milk...Mellin's food bears comparison with nilk. It is easily digested, and as an attenuant for milk may be used without harm during the early months of life, but it should not be used to the exclusion of milk for more than a few days at a time, and then only when milk is not retained by the stomach. Later it is doubtless a valuable addition to the regular daily food of the child. Malted milk is made form selected grain and desiccated or dried milk. To prepare it for the infant it needs only the addition of water. It is probably one of the best substitutes for milk but should not be used for any length of time when it is possible to get good milk....Nestle's food, Imperial Granum, Ridge's food, and some others are made very carefully from selected wheat by this process. Nestle's food contains dried milk. These foods are all valuable when made into gruel or porridge, but should be used very sparingly under the age of twelve months, and then only as attenuants ofr milk, not as substitutes for it. Dr. Mary Putnam Jacobi, editor of 'Domestic Hygiene of the Child,' by Uffelmann (a translation), in speaking of the value of the various preparations of infants' food on the market says: 'There is not the slightest reason to prefer them to milk or its preparations, except that the latter requires more care; and for any intelligent and affectionate mother this reason is quite insufficient."
---A Handbook of Invalid Cooking, Mary A. Boland [Century Co.:New York] 1893, 1898(p. 289-292)

"Of the many patent infant and invalid foods on the market, some consist of cow's milk combined with varying amounts of carbohydrates of other materials and others seem to be made of starchy materials without milk. In some cases the carbohydrates have apparently been malted before being combined with milk, or else malt extract is added during the process of manufacture. Experience had shown that these special foods, when they contain nutrietns of milk, are sometimes valuable for infants when it is necessary to resort to artificial feeding. Too much faith should not be put in the extravagant claims made for some brands of infant foods. The safest course is to follow the advice of a competent physician in selecting the substitute for natural feeding. It is often wiser to use cow's milk, modified at home under a physician's direction, rather than these commercial foods."
---Milk and Its Uses in the Home, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Farmers' Bulletin No. 1359 [Government Printing Office:Washington DC] revised January 1924 (p. 15) [NOTE: This booklet also states "That the best food for an infant is milk from a strong, healthy woman is admitted by everyone. When it is not obtainable, the more nearly the substitute resembles it the better. Cow's milk is the most common substitute, and when necessary may be artificially modified. Goat's milk, too, is in some cases recommened for infants. " (P. 5)]

[1928] GERBER'S/United States
Gerber's launched its new baby food line in 1928 with a special promtion intended to get mothers to try the product and create a demand for the item in retail grocers stores: About Gerber's.

"1928: Danel Gerber improves baby foods with improved methods for straining peas and finds by a maket surey that a large market exists for such foods if they can be cold cheaply through grocery stores. Gerber advertises in Child's Life magazine and offers six cans for a dollar (less than half the pices of baby foods sold at pharmacies) to customers will send in coupons filled out with the names and addresses of their grocers."
---The Food Chronology, James Trager [Henry Holt:New York] 1995 (p. 455)

"By the late 1920s, commercially canned baby food was introduced and quickly adopted by American consumers. Conditions were favorable: advertising had become widespread, the cost of canned foods had fallen, and experts recommended the addition of fruits and vegetables to the infant diet. The Gerber Company initiated this revolution in infant feeding by expanding the scope of the canned foods industry. According to the Gerber company history, in 1927 Dorothy Gerber laboriously hand-strained vegetables for her seven-month-old daughter, Sally, and urged her husband, Daniel, to consider manufacturing stained baby food a the Gerber family's Fremont Canning Company. The next year, the company introduced strained peas, prunes, carrots, and spinach to the market. The Gerbers launched an advertising campaign featuring a sketch of an infant known as the Gerber Baby that ran in such publications as Good Housekeeping, The Ladies' Home Journal, the Journal of the American Dietetics Association, and the Journal of the American Medical Association. The Gerber Baby icon, drawn by Dorothy Hope Smith, became the company's official trademark in 1931."
---Oxford Encyclopedia of Food and Drink in America, Andrew F. Smith editor [Oxford University Press:New York] 2004, Volume 1 (p. 58-9)

Who was the original Gerber Baby?
Ann Turner Cook, the neighbor of Boston artist Dorothy Hope Smith. Ms. Cook grew up to be a teacher.

"The Gerber baby—the face that launched a brand The tousled hair, the bright eyes, the round, pursed lips. The Gerber baby is recognized all around the world. So who is this special baby? People polled throughout the United States surmised that the Gerber Baby had to have grown up to become someone famous: Guesses ranged from movie stars Humphrey Bogart and Elizabeth Taylor to Senator Bob Dole. But mystery novelist and retired English teacher Ann Turner Cook knows the real answer. Because she is the Gerber Baby. The back-story on the Gerber Baby In 1928 Gerber was looking for a face to represent a baby food ad campaign. The baby Ann Turner Cook posed for artist Dorothy Hope Smith. Her simple charcoal sketch competed with lots of portraits, including elaborate oil paintings. (Smith offered to finish the sketch if it were accepted. ) Whether it was the simplicity of the drawing or the cuteness of the baby (or both!), the judges fell in love with the adorable cherub face of Ann Turner Cook. They were so taken with it that Smith didn’t have to finish the sketch. Gerber used it just as it was. The illustration became so popular that Gerber adopted it as its official trademark in 1931. Since then the Gerber Baby has appeared on all GERBER packaging and in every Gerber advertisement, making Ann Turner Cook the world’s best-known baby image. Her sparkling eyes and inquisitive look personify Gerber’s commitment to happy and healthy babies all over the world."
Gerber's Heritage

"The most enduring urban legend about the famous Gerber Baby has to be the one about Humphrey Bogart. It's been said that the image on the labels actually was a diaper- clad Bogie, sketched lovingly by his artist mom. Trouble is, the tough-guy actor was already a grown man when the first Gerber jars appeared on store shelves in 1928. Ann Turner Cook -- the real, honest-to-goodness Gerber Baby -- has heard all the face tales. Her cherubic face as a happy infant is forever etched in time on every label of every Gerber product sold in 80 countries, one of the most famous and enduring trademarks in history. These days, Cook is an energetic 77-year-old fledgling novelist who's not above using her notoriety as America's most famous baby to drum up interest in her murder mysteries, featuring an erstwhile female reporter sniffing out intrigue in small Florida towns....The daughter of well-known comic strip artist Leslie Turner, Cook taught literature and writing in Tampa schools for 26 years and raised four children. Since retiring in 1989, she has published two novels regionally, with a third in the works. But Cook will no doubt always be best known for her picture on the Gerber labels. Cook was about 4 months old in 1927 when family friend Dorothy Hope Smith sketched the image in charcoal. Using a neighbor's baby as a model wasn't so unusual in the artist enclave of Westport, Conn. , and nobody thought much about it. Least of all Cook's dad, who for 27 years wrote and drew "Wash Tubbs and Captain Easy," a daily comic strip that ran in 500 newspapers. The next year, Gerber put out the call for images that could be used in ads for its new baby food products, and Smith submitted the drawing. "She wrote me [later] that she had thought it was kind of unfinished, and if they liked it she could finish it properly," Cook said of the sketch. "But they were smart enough that they didn't want anything done to it." Her likeness started appearing on the products in 1928 and became the official trademark in 1931."
---"The Baby of Gerber's Family; for 75 Years, Ann Turner Cook Has Enjoyed Her Sketch of Fame," Mitch Stacy, Washington Post, February 29, 2004 (p. D1)

Recommended reading

  • Encyclopedia of Consumer Brands, Volume 1: Consumable Products/Janice Jorgensen, editor
  • Advertising Age Encyclopedia of Advertising, John McDonough, editor


[1960s, USA]
"Fixing formula for your infant will soon be quicker and easier than pouring a glass of milk for your preschooler. ..If your pediatrician approves, you will be able to buy ready-to-serve formula at your grocery or drug store in disposible glass bottles, marked with ounces. The formula is already sterilized, will keep unopened without refrigeration and need not be warmed before feeding. All you have to do is replace the bottle's cap with a sterilized-sized collar. The ready-bottled formula...is due for national distribution within a few months...A carton of four four-ounce bottles is priced at 75 cents; of size ounce bottles, 87 cents; of eight ounce size, 99 cents...The same ready-to-serve formula has been available in cans since 1962, but most be poured into sterilized bottles before feeding. Coming on the market soon is kit which makes it possible to attach a nipple to the metal can for quick feedings. A new manufacturing process had to be developed, however, before the formula could be preserved in the glass bottles without refrigeration. The last dozen years have seen major changes in the way infants in the United States are fed. Only one mother in five now fixes the baby formul using the traditional evaporated milk mixed with carbohydrate modifiers, a mainstay of two-thirds of babies in 1952. Half of today's mothers now use a prepared infant formula, either a powder or liquid which is mixed with water, or the ready-serve formula poured from a can into sterilized bottles. The percentage has doubled in the last five years, was only 15 per cent in 1952. One baby in five, usually those past three or four months of age, gets whole cow's milk. Only one in 10 is breast fed, still the safest, most convenient and least expensive method of nourishing an infant. But even some breast-fed infants are ocasionally given formula as a supplement, or when the mother must be away from home at feeding time."
---"Feeding a Baby is Easier, But There Are Still Problems," Joan Beck, Chicago Tribune, March 24, 1964 (p. A2)

Pablum brand baby food
The *problem* with pablum is this is both a proprietary tradename with a patented formula AND a generic word used by many to describe any fortified grain-based baby cereal. Some people (who are not fond of such products) use the term to indicate any bland, porridge-type food.

Who developed Pablum?
"During the 1920s and 1930s, considerable time and effort were spent studying the science of artificial feeding. The scientific management of child-rearing in general - from food to behaviour advice - increased the professional role and authority of physicians in child care issues. Society seemed to welcome the scientific approach to infant feeding and food and bought products that advertised increased nutritional value for their children. In 1931, Pablum, an infant cereal containing necessary minerals and vitamins for children's health, became available in Canada and the United States. The food was heralded as an excellent cereal addition to the infant's diet and remains a popular infant food today. It was three Canadian doctors - Frederick Tisdall (1893-1949), Theodore Drake (1891-1959), and Alan Brown (1887-1960) - who developed Pablum at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. "
Source: here

USA Patent & manufacturing
Mead Johnson secured US trademark rights in 1932 and patent protection in 1935:

"Harry H. Engel, a developer of Pablum baby cereal, has died at the age of 82. Mr. Engel, one of three patent holders on Pablum, died Friday at Deaconess Hospital in Evansville. Mr. Engle worked 47 years for Mead Johnson & Company before retiring in 1967. Fourteen years after joining the company as a chemist, Mr. Engle helped develop Pablum, a soft, bland cereal for infants."
---"Harry H. Engel," New York Times, April 2, 1984 (p. D13)
[NOTE: Mr. Engel's patent is number 1,990,329, published February 5, 1935. The other people named in this patent are Lambert D. Johnson and Nathan F. True.]

According to the records of the US Patent & Trademark Organization, Pablum brand baby food was introduced to the American public by Mead Johnson June 4, 1932:


The US Patent & Trademark Office confirms Pablum brand baby foods were abandoned by Mead Johnson March 18, 1997. This indicates the company is no longer manufacturing a product with this name. The only "live" mark for Pablum in this database his held by private individual.

"Word Mark PABLUM Goods and Services (ABANDONED) IC 005. US 018 046. G & S: precooked, dried cereals specially prepared for infants and children Mark Drawing Code (3) DESIGN PLUS WORDS, LETTERS, AND/OR NUMBERS Design Search Code 26.03.21 - Ovals that are completely or partially shaded Serial Number 74579245 Filing Date September 23, 1994 Current Filing Basis 1B Original Filing Basis 1B Published for Opposition June 25, 1996 Owner (APPLICANT) MEAD JOHNSON & COMPANY CORPORATION DELAWARE 2400 West Lloyd Expressway Evansville INDIANA 477210001 Assignment Recorded ASSIGNMENT RECORDED Attorney of Record Clark W. Lackert Description of Mark The drawing is lined for the color red. Type of Mark TRADEMARK Register PRINCIPAL Live/Dead Indicator DEAD Abandonment Date March 18, 1997

How was this product initially received?
"Competition from cheaper infoant food products has been growing, but the quality of Mead-Johnson's products and the goodwill of the medical profession which has been painstakingly developed and retained, places the company in a position from which it cannot easily be dislodged. Some new items, notably 'Pablum' cereal, recently added to the well-known line of specialty food products, have been well received."
---"Inquiring Investor," Wall Street Journal, April 12, 1934 (p. 8)

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About culinary research & about copyright
Research conducted by Lynne Olver, editor The Food Timeline. About this site.

© Lynne Olver 2004
3 January 2015

Our history | Nestlé Baby&Me

More than 85 years ago none of the Gerber family could have imagined that with the light hand of a caring mother and wife Dorothy Gerber her husband's small cannery in the US state of Michigan would become famous all over the world. Today, Gerber ® baby food is known to parents all over the world.


The history of the company began in the kitchen, where young mother Dorothy Gerber, wife of a cannery owner hand-mashed for their seven-month-old daughter Sally. The labor-intensive process took a lot of time and effort - this gave Dorothy an idea:

“If a factory can make mashed vegetables for

adults, then it will be able to make ready-made mashed potatoes for children”

After conducting the necessary research, consultation with nutritionists, doctors and economists in 1927 a trial batch of the product was produced.


By the end of 1928, , after the new product was approved, five varieties of Gerber® baby puree were produced. every major grocery store anywhere in the US.


Gradually Gerber® puree became known all over the world

Parents appreciated not only high palatability of ready-made food, but also a significant saving of one's own effort and time compared to the usual way of preparing baby food.

Two years earlier, the company held a competition for

The best illustration for advertising Gerber®


in a figure sent by by the artist Dorothy Hope Smith , an unfinished portrait of a little girl - Anna Turner, the daughter of an author’s neighbor.

Advertising with this illustration was so successful that since 1931 the portrait of the girl's face becomes the official logo of the Gerber brand ® , registered as a trademark.


Gerber® experts were among the first to offer a product of impeccable quality, that meets all the needs of young gourmets and is completely safe.

Tempered glass , which is used to make puree jars, makes it possible to apply heat treatment methods that destroy harmful microbes.


The company's specialists have developed the first ever baby food cap with a special tab - an indicator of tightness.

When the lid is opened for the first time, a characteristic popping noise is heard, which helps parents to determine the freshness of the baby puree.

Since 1936, Dorothy Gerber began to personally answer

every letter that came to the company's address.


And in 1968, Gerber® launched a single 24/7 telephone line, the Care Line, where parents could call and ask their questions to Gerber® experts at any time.

In the US, the line receives approximately 800,000 calls each year.


Gerber ® manufactures approximately 500 products that can be purchased in more than 30 countries worldwide.

According to a 1998 US study, consumers trust the Gerber® brand more than any other brand.


In Ukraine, the product range is represented by more than 30 items, among them are fruit, vegetable, meat and vegetable purees, fruit juices, meat purees, fruit purees in soft packaging, organic fruit purees. nine0004

Ukraine also has a “Care Line”:
specialists working on it respond to more than
50 requests from Ukrainian mothers every month.

The history of baby food: how products for artificial feeding of children appeared

29 Apr 6 9670

Vadim Erlikhman, archivist, historian: Today, the fast food market is the fastest growing in the food industry. It is hard to believe that even a century and a half ago the very idea of ​​feeding babies with something other than mother's milk seemed wild. nine0009

It is worth recalling that in the old days, of course, there were no maternity leave. A week after giving birth, peasant women had to work in the field, maids - to scrub the floor, factory workers - to go to the machine. In addition, there was a belief that before the baptism of the child, the mother should not breastfeed him. At that time, the child remained in the care of relatives, who instead of milk gave him "zhevka" - a rag with chewed bread or porridge. Sometimes it was soaked in milk, vegetable oil or sugar water. The rich had their own problems: feeding spoiled the shape of the breast, especially for mothers with many children. If a wealthy lady decided to feed the child herself, it was considered - depending on the fashion - either a feat or a strange quirk. Usually, a nurse was hired for this purpose, since there were enough young healthy women with an excess of milk. nine0009

The reason for this excess was not happy: the huge infant mortality, which in the 18th century reached 40%. The main reason for this was the complete lack of hygiene: in Russian villages, in addition to a dirty rag, children were stuffed into their mouths with other rubbish, like a cut off cow's nipple. It was put on a horn, into which the same soaked bread or oatmeal was charged. Russian doctors wrote that in some provinces it was customary, along with the nipple, to give children wort, mash from the very first days. French peasant women, in order for their children to fall asleep better, gave them diluted wine to drink. Yes, and the nurses themselves drank wine and beer, it was believed that this adds milk. In one of Dickens' novels, a young mother drinks four glasses of port wine at dinner "under the pretext that she is breastfeeding." nine0009

In most cultures, breastfeeding continued for up to 6 months, after which the child was switched to solid food. Sometimes this was celebrated with a solemn ritual like the Indian “annaprashana”, when the eldest member of the family blessed rice porridge with sugar, tasted it and gave it to the baby. In China, children were accustomed to normal food in stages: first, liquid rice porridge (sifan), then boiled vegetables, tofu, and fish. In Africa, the first solid food for babies was corn porridge. In ancient Greece, it was a liquid barley stew, to which bull's blood was added in Sparta so that the boy would grow up to be a real warrior. nine0009

When children were teething, they were fed just like adults, only worse, because they were of no use. And this applied not only to poor peasants: Elizaveta Vodovozova recalls her childhood in a large landowner family in the middle of the 19th century: “Children were given everything that was worse and could not be used by adults ... Every pot of spoiled jam or marinade was shown to mother by the nanny. Having tasted one or the other, mother sighed heavily and said something like this: “What a misfortune! Really, it's no good. Well, let's go to the children. ”And in order to prolong our pleasure, and not because we could get sick from spoiled food, she told us to give us a small saucer.” nine0009

Doctors learned to cope with indigestion in children, but the lack of mother's milk became an increasingly serious problem. In big cities, the intense rhythm of life, air pollution, constant stress led to the fact that 30% of women did not have enough milk to feed a child, especially if he was the first or, conversely, the fourth or fifth. In families that could not afford to hire a wet nurse, babies were fed cow's or goat's milk. However, in composition it was very different from breast milk, so it often caused indigestion. There was also the problem of hygiene, because of which the German doctor Biedert warned: “It is necessary to observe pedantic purity both in keeping cows and in milking and preserving milk ... Since milk can acquire harmful properties from inappropriate food, cows should not be given even bards, no waste, because the toxic substances contained in them pass into milk and cannot be eliminated. ”There were also problems with the nurses, because they suffered from all kinds of diseases, up to syphilis, which were often transmitted to the child during feeding. nine0009

All this made scientists work hard to find a substitute for breast milk. Gradually, the necessary conditions for this arose: they learned how to preserve and disinfect products, and in 1855 the Englishman Grimweid began to make powdered milk. But if it were not for the son of the Frankfurt glazier Heinrich Nestle, who preferred to call himself Henri in French, all these discoveries might have existed on their own. The problem of baby food arose before Nestlé after the birth of his first child. A certified pharmacist who ran a pharmacy in the small Swiss town of Vevey, in 1867 made a mixture of powdered cow's milk, wheat flour and sugar, which he called "Henri Nestlé Milk Flour". Diluted with water, this mixture turned into the world's first artificial baby food. nine0009

According to legend, the first artificially fed baby was a premature baby of one of the local factory workers, who, of course, thanks to the Nestle formula, began to grow by leaps and bounds. The delighted pharmacist opened his own company, whose logo was a nest with chicks, because Nestle in German means "nest". Very soon, canned "milk flour" appeared in all European capitals. In 1872, it began to be sold in St. Petersburg, where a local merchant Alexander Wenzel became an agent of the Nestle company. He also sold other baby products, such as Maltos-Cannabis sugared hempseed extract, which was advertised as the best way to get a good night's sleep…

In Russia, baby food did not take root at that time, but in Europe its popularity grew rapidly. Feeding babies has become unprecedentedly simple - open a jar and dilute its contents in water. However, even then doctors warned about the dangers of this simplicity. The German physician Gottfried Kühner wrote: “As for mealy surrogates, such as Nestle, Gerbera, Kufeke, Hartenstein’s leguminous powder, rakout, arrowroot, avicen, maizena, avena, etc., the same thing must be said about all of them: they are in many cases are well tolerated by children, but only after the second or third month of life. Violation of this condition, as well as the rules of hygiene, led to the fact that in 189In Berlin, infants fed formula were 13 times more likely to die than breastfed infants in Berlin in 1999.

The already mentioned Dr. Biedert noted: “The mass of artificial surrogates is not yet able to replace breast milk. Moreover, many of them, which came into use solely thanks to numerous and loud advertisements, should be recognized as directly harmful. At the same time, many considered the Nestle mixture to be the best: both milk and flour for it were made in the environmentally friendly conditions of the Swiss Alps. In the mid-1870s, the company launched another new product on the market - condensed milk. Although it was invented back in 1856 by American Gail Borden, it was Nestlé that made it a popular children's treat. True, the doctors were again unhappy: no one followed the recommendation to dilute condensed milk with water in a ratio of 1 to 10 and only then give it to children. Children fed with condensed milk became fat, anemic and sickly. Henri Nestlé sold the company in 1874. After 140 years, the profit of the largest food producer has reached almost 8 billion euros

Competitors were stepping on the heels of Nestlé more and more actively. In 1896, the Dutchman Martinus van der Hagen invented his own way of drying milk in a bakery. With significantly less flour and sugar, his milk formula quickly gained popularity, laying the foundation for Nutricia's international prosperity. In the US, baby food was taken over by Clapp's Baby Food and Beech-Nut, and Pablum was the first to sell cereal for children. However, it was Daniel Gerber, a cannery manufacturer from Fremont, Michigan, who gave the real scope to the case. The reason for this was again personal: Sally. the sick daughter of Daniel and his wife, Dorothy, required special nutrition. Having learned how to make mashed vegetables, fruits and meat, Dorothy suggested that her husband start mass-producing it. The advice turned out to be successful, and at 1928 year baby food company "Gerber Products" went on sale.

Its popularity was ensured not so much by new products - they were successfully fed to children before, but by a purely American advertising scale. Immediately after entering the market, the company announced a competition for the best advertising, which was won by the artist Dorothy Hope, who painted a portrait of her neighbors little daughter. This Gerber baby has been sold all over the country, appearing in magazines beloved by housewives and on billboards. The brainchild of the Gerber spouses flourished even during the years of the Great Depression - after all, then the children needed even more artificial feeding. The company is still one of the three largest baby food manufacturers in the world, along with Nestle and Heinz, also known for its ketchup. And in the US, where baby food is consumed the most, Gerber even occupies 70% of the market. nine0009

The Soviet Union lagged far behind in this area. Own baby food was not produced here for a long time. The elite could use the products of Nestlé and other Western companies, which were bought for foreign currency. For everyone else, there were dairy kitchens that had been open all over the country as far back as the 1920s. There, milk mixtures, fermented milk products, cottage cheese, juices, mashed fruits and vegetables were made from fresh products. Such kitchens were very useful: the children attached to them received good nutrition even during the years of famine and war. At 19In the 1950s, mass production of baby food began in the country: canned juices and purees, powdered milk mixtures, cereals and kissels. Twenty years later, in Istra, Voronezh, Novosibirsk, near Moscow, and then in other cities, factories were built that produce liquid mixtures for children, first in glass and then in cardboard containers. Now dairy kitchens did not prepare food, but gave out ready-made jars or bags.

in the 1990s, our market was flooded with all the abundance of world baby products - milk formulas, kefir, yogurt, cereals. All this is sold in dry, liquid or frozen form and is certainly advertised as the most delicious and healthy food for children. In the competitive struggle, numerous companies adapt to different categories of consumers. For milk intolerant children, especially in East Asia, lactose-free formulas are made, where whey is replaced by no less nutritious soy protein. In New Zealand, Bibikol has developed infant formula from New Zealand goat milk, which they say differs in composition from goat milk common in Europe. nine0009

Whereas earlier they tried to expel any microorganisms from products for children, today useful bifidobacteria are specially bred in them. Baby food has become so widespread that not only children use it. Hollywood stars go on a diet of puree and milk for other reasons: baby foods are so nutritious that even small portions of them allow you to fill up and not get fat. Products for astronauts were also created at one time on the basis of baby food. Some firms tried to reverse the operation, but when the “space” tubes fell into the hands of the kids, their contents were squeezed out anywhere but into the mouth. nine0009

Children are special clients. To please them, the food must be not only healthy and tasty, but also bright, which is what producers use to make porridge or mashed potatoes red, orange or green. Sometimes this led to sad consequences. In the 1970s, a scandal erupted in the United States when a major company dyed a strawberry-flavoured children's breakfast cereal with an artificial dye that caused nausea. Thousands of parents called an ambulance - there was a complete impression that the children were vomiting blood. But the biggest scandal arose in the same 70s around the famous Nestle company - it was accused of killing many babies in "third world countries", in which, due to living conditions, mothers could not use the product correctly, they mixed food with dirty water or pour the mixture into unsterilized bottles. According to UNICEF, an unhygienic artificially fed infant is at least 6 times more likely to die from diarrhea alone than a breastfed infant. nine0009

When a mother feeds her baby, she gives him not only nutrients, but also immunity to many diseases, and, no less important, strengthens the psychological bond with him. Speaking against artificial nutrition, activists from different countries created the World Alliance for Breastfeeding. Under his pressure, the World Health Organization in 1981 adopted the "Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes", adopted over time by all major manufacturers. It stated that companies should limit advertising and conduct sales of their products with the mandatory participation of medical professionals. True, this applies only to milk formulas, but other types of baby food are under close public scrutiny. nine0009

IN THE MIDDLE AGES, CHILDREN'S FEEDING BOTTLES were made of leather and wood. At the beginning of the 19th century, porcelain bottles began to be produced. They wore nipples made of leather or suede.

The glass feeding bottle was patented in 1841 by Charles Windshiel of Massachusetts.

In 1981, the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes was created to control unacceptable marketing practices. The Code was developed by WHO/UNICEF. The official author of the code is IBFAN - International Active Baby Food Network. The code was approved by the World Health Assembly by a vote of 118 votes in favor, against 1 (the US refused to sign the code). A few years later, the rubber nipple was patented, and Windshield bottles were distributed worldwide. Mothers liked them very much. Such a bottle with an attached straw could be placed next to the child, and he could eat on his own. In the early 20th century, the Windshield bottle was banned. Rubber hoses clogged and became breeding grounds for bacteria. nine0009

International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes

The Code is addressed to governments and infant formula companies. It is a concise guide to the marketing of breast milk substitutes. Its main task is to protect the lives of children by providing them with the best food - breast milk.

Products covered by the code include:

  • artificial baby milk
  • other artificial milks
  • all types of baby food: juices, purees, soups, pates, etc. nine0223
  • Feeding bottles and teats.

The Code contains the following guidance:

  • Information or educational materials, equipment or products may be distributed free of charge only with the written permission of the relevant authorities. (Company logo may appear but product brand may not)
  • No company materials may be distributed to mothers.
  • Health workers should support breastfeeding and encourage mothers to choose to breastfeed. They should help promote the principles of this code. nine0223
  • Do not use the healthcare system to market artificial breast milk.
  • Health system display products such as posters, booklets, flyers, brochures, feeding bottles, labels, prescription forms, and other artificial nutrition promotional materials may not be used.
  • Representatives of manufacturing companies should not work in the health care system, in the field of child care and should not be in contact with mothers. nine0223
  • Demonstration of artificial feeding techniques may only be conducted by health workers in families where there is an absolute medical indication for supplementary feeding. At the same time, information about the risk to the health of the child if the product is used incorrectly must be provided.
  • Artificial milk may not be distributed free of charge or at reduced prices in the health care system. Donations in the form of artificial milk, feeding bottles and other products can only be given to orphanages and similar institutions, but not to hospitals and maternity hospitals. nine0223
  • Hospitals and maternity hospitals should buy this formula just like everyone else.
  • All information provided by health care professional firms must be limited to scientific facts and must not suggest that formula feeding is identical or superior to natural feeding.
  • Promotion of products by healthcare workers, as well as their material and financial incentives, is not allowed.
  • nine0222 Health workers should not distribute artificial milk samples to pregnant women, mothers of infants and young children, or their family members.

Summary of the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes