Research from Mintel reveals sales of wet and dry baby food dropped significantly between 2012 and 2015 as many of the nation’s parents choose to create these meals from scratch.
Today, 83 per cent of parents with children aged four and under say they feed their child homemade food (excluding snacks) such as purées, with as many as 12 per cent saying they do this four times a day or more.
Although only 35 per cent of parents say that homemade baby food is easy to prepare, it seems many agree on the benefits of homemade food – 56 per cent of parents with children aged 0-4 believe homemade food is trustworthy and 45 per cent cite control of ingredients as a reason for making baby food at home.
“An ongoing focus on sugar as a health foe means that, for many parents, control of baby’s diet is crucial, which helps to explain why so many parents are choosing to feed their babies and toddlers homemade fare,” Mintel Senior Food and Drink Analyst Amy Price said.
“As a result, the popularity of homemade food poses a threat to the baby food and drink market. That homemade food is seen to be more premium than manufactured indicates that manufacturers need to step up and premium sub-brands could be one way to explore this.”
Sales of wet and dry baby food dropped by 14 per cent from 37 million kg in 2012 to an estimated 32 million kg in 2015, while sales of baby drinks dropped 67 per cent from six million kg to an estimated two million kg in the same time period. Although it’s not all bad news, sales of baby finger food rose 33 per cent to an estimated four million kg between 2012 and 2015 while baby milk rose by nine per cent to an estimated 58 million kg in the same time frame.
Overall volume sales of baby food, drink and milk are estimated to have fallen by three per cent since 2012, from 99 million kg to 96 million kg in 2015. During 2016, the market is forecast to decline further, falling to 95 million kg.
Manufactured baby food continues to provide a convenient option to parents as more than 42 per cent see manufactured baby food in jars as convenient, in contrast to 18 per cent for homemade food. What’s more, 22 per cent of parents say they buy manufactured baby/toddler food as a back-up and a lack of cooking skills mean 12 per cent of parents buy manufactured baby/toddler food they would not be confident about making themselves.