Baby food and snacks
Babies and toddlers between the ages of about four to sixth months to two years are the target group of nutritious baby foods and snacks. Soft and easily chewable foods such as purees or strained food, as well as cereal-based foods, beverages and snack foods are included in this special category. Manufactures offer those products in different ‘stages’ – following successively one after another - to meet baby’s needs in each individual development phase.
The baby food market is a very sensitive market regarding the specific nutritional requirements for baby foods. Thus, baby foods contain naturally sourced ingredients, comprising no artificial colors, preservatives or flavors. Further to this, various products are also organic. Due to legal requirements and the fact that babies are still in the taste forming process, products do not contain salt, seasoning or additional sugar in the early stages. Babies are usually able to switch to family’s normal table food by reaching the age of one year. In general, parents have the option to decide if they want to prepare the purees and strained foods at home or if they purchase the commercial food at retail stores.
Baby food and snack brands such as Gerber or Beech-Nut dominate the retail environment in the United States. Nestlé HealthCare Nutrition, which is a division of Swiss-based food company Nestlé S.A, acquired Gerber in September 2007.