I never thought I’d be the kind of parent who would purée whole, fresh vegetables and fruits for my baby’s first solid foods.
That’s a rosy ideal relegated to those super-granola, Earth Mother types.
I figured I’d be buying jars of baby food from the supermarket because, hey, I’m a working mom. And I’m a working mom whose baby reached solid-food age at the same time daycare facilities closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
I barely have time to brush my teeth.
But now my baby has surpassed eight months on this planet, and I haven’t perused the jar (or pouch?) options on the grocery store shelves yet, or at the online grocery store.
Here’s the thing: Blending plain, whole vegetables and fruits in my Vitamix is easy. Who knew?
For our industry’s marketers, this could be a niche to target — those health-conscious millennial parents navigating the first baby-food stage.
Child food allergies have increased by 50% in the past 20 years, according to Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE), and about one in 13 U.S. children has a food allergy.
Five out of every six parents say they are concerned about their child developing food allergies, according to FARE.
The most common food allergens are dairy, eggs, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, fish and shellfish.
Notice the absence of fresh fruits or vegetables on that list.
And many consumers are trying to use what they already have in the kitchen to reduce the number of store runs during these infectious days.
For consumer parents who don’t have the patience or time for homemade purées, there’s still the trendy baby-led weaning method that skips the purée stage, landing on just placing soft sticks of food on the 6-month-old kid’s tray and letting her figure out how to get it in her gullet.
Try strips of avocado, cucumber, sweet potato and banana, said Katie Serbinski, a registered dietician from Detroit, on the Produce for Kids podcast, “Navigating First Foods,” hosted by Amanda Keefer.
At my pediatrician’s suggestion, I started with some soupy rice cereal, but then my babe chowed down on broccoli, avocado, peanut butter, peas, beets, corn, eggs and butternut squash. Now the list is too long for me to recall because I’m starting to give him what I’m eating.
You never know what a kid will like. Broccoli? Yes. Apple? No. It’s nonsensical.
It would be helpful if fresh produce companies provided tips, ideas and solutions for new parents like me.
The fresh produce industry can market their products to these wee ones — or their parents, really — with a clear conscience.
What we sell is good for them. Let’s help these tiny humans discover the joys of the avocado trend and beyond.
Amy Sowder is The Packer’s Northeast editor. E-mail her at [email protected]