- Moms prioritize nutritional value — followed by taste and familiar ingredients at a low price — in the foods they buy for their children. They are more likely to buy organic products for their kids than for themselves, and six in 10 limit the amount of sugar their children eat. These findings are from a recent food and nutrition survey from BabyCenter Brand Labs Insight, which is part of Johnson & Johnson.
- For the parents who participated in the online survey, organic is more important on snack labels and less important for juice, and 43% said they would pay more for organic food. However, two out of three moms said organic should be the norm, so they shouldn't pay more for it.
- The survey results broke down ingredient preferences by retailer, with 67% of Trader Joe's shoppers being concerned about added sugars in the food they buy, 68% of Whole Foods customers wary of high fructose corn syrup in products, 40% of Costco shoppers and 38% of Target shoppers worried about food dyes, and 44% of Amazon customers seeking iron fortification in the food they buy. The survey involved 1,004 U.S. parents — 814 moms and 190 dads — ages 18 to 54 with children ages 0 to 5.
The survey results underscore that today's moms and dads are looking for nutritious, tasty and safe food for their children and are going out of their way to avoid GMOs, added sugars, dyes, preservatives and trans fats. And millennial parents — which will comprise 80% of the demographic in the next 15 years — are forecast to keep the organic product market growing, according to statistics from the Organic Trade Association.
Food companies of all sizes are paying close attention, and buying habits play into the products they're developing and bringing to market. Gerber, which has about one-quarter of the U.S. baby food market, has come out with an organic baby food line that is free of salt and sugar and available in convenient pouches.
Thistle, a San Francisco startup, delivers frozen organic, plant-based meal kits for babies and young children. Yumi, another startup, has launched — with the help of more than $4 million in private investment — a baby food delivery service in Los Angeles featuring organic meals made with fruits, vegetables and no preservatives.
The concern for enough protein in baby food is also being addressed, with the Texas-based startup Serenity Kids launching a paleo diet-like line of baby food said to contain the highest meat content — along with organic vegetables — of any pouched product.
A compound annual growth rate of 6.7% is projected for the global baby food market from 2017 to 2022. In the U.S., organic baby food spending alone is projected to hit $783.9 million in 2017 — up from $613 million in 2013.
Some of that demand is being driven by millennials with children who are busy with jobs and other responsibilities, so they don't have a lot of time to prepare and serve homemade meals. They are likely to opt for convenient yet also healthy foods — and preferably without additives and preservatives.
Put the pieces together and growth opportunities emerge for companies wanting to match quality baby food products with the demographics. It's a safe bet that longtime organic food industry CEO John Foraker has been paying close attention. He recently left the helm of Annie's Homegrown — now part of General Mills — to join an organic baby food startup in the Bay Area.