The global baby food market comprises foods intended for the special nutrition of babies and infants. The largest single categories on the baby food market are baby formula, dried baby food, and prepared baby food.
Baby foods are usually divided into different stages so that they are suitable for each phase of the child’s individual development. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends breast milk as the ideal food to meet a baby’s needs in the first stages right after birth. If breastfeeding is not an option, parents have the possibility of using baby formulas. Those are available as powdered and ready-to-drink baby formula. After a couple of months more and more solid foods as type of purees or strained foods are introduced into the baby’s meal plan until the child is ready, usually by the age of one year, for the introduction of family table food. Consumers can decide if they want to make the purees and strained foods at home or if they buy them already prepared at a retail store.
The baby food market in the United States is regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Leading baby food brands include Gerber, Beech-Nut and Plum Organics. Gerber is now a subsidiary of the largest global food company Nestlé S.A. which has headquarters in Vevey, Switzerland.
Recent trends show that baby food manufacturers have expanded their product portfolio by launching additional toddler foods which are intended for toddlers from about twelve months to two or three years.