Gone are those days when baby food was a formula that was available in one flavor which was mixed in milk and fed. The options were limited and so was the demand for it. Baby food is a soft, mashed and easily chewed formula. These foods include meat, cereals vegetables and fruits. The taste of the food is very similar to an adult meal. But the present market situation of the baby food industry has a lot to boast about. The category has been altered from a simple selection of jarred purees, to an interesting and innovative assortment of pouches, steam-meals, baby pasta, sauces, mini-pots, and baby stock cubes.
How did the industry evolve??
Human evolution has also resulted in food evolution. The Food Market has been constantly evolving with time. What used to be a small sector in the 90’s has turned into big units now. Until the 19th century infant food was prepared at home using homemade ingredients and recipes. Research report suggests that the first mass produced baby food was a byproduct of the European Industrial evolution. These formulas substituted mother’s milk. But by 1920’s the baby food market had grown to cover ready-made baby cereals, vegetables and fruits. Food companies banked upon the modern and scientific notion of feeding manufactured over homemade ones.
A comprehensive market survey found that:
• “Baby food and drink brands are attaining the trust of parents: only 20% with children under the age of one do not use manufactured food and drinks.
• The baby food market growth stands at around 7% year on year in the UK.”
But it wasn’t an easy road for the manufactures. A market research report suggests that the consumers didn’t embrace to the products readily. It took long intense and aggressive marketing strategies by the manufactures. They established brand image and gained a viable advantage at the country level markets. Product distinction and packaging with flavored variants in multiple packaging sizes allowed parents with diverse income levels to have flexibility and choice. . Nestlé’s Cerelac is synonymous with packaged baby food in many countries such as Indonesia and India. But in recent times the industry has pushed beyond the limits of the aisle into dairy and chilled ready meals and they are successful in keeping mothers locked in the category by innovating products for older children.
The baby food industry has evolved in years with people accepting the scientific and the innovative techniques. There is an excellent scope for investment into baby food & pediatric nutrition market worldwide. But it’s the developing markets that are more promising as these countries have highest baby population and fastest growing middle class population.