We hear it continuous right, is it organic? But what can we expect when a commodity is labelled organic? What is Organic Baby Food? And when can a company call their products Organic?
Organic baby food is made from produce grown on farms who are certified in growing Organic produce. Sometimes it can take years for farmers to meet those standards and get approved.
You may be aware that during the growth of our fruit and vegetables, chemicals are used to protect the harvest from enemies such as pests and weeds. Also, fertilisers are used to increase the growth speed of the produce. Unfortunately, the chemicals used are often not the best for our health or our environment.
Farmers from Organic farms grow their crops without the use of industrial chemicals. They may use alternatives such as natural chemicals to protect their produce.
Baby food made from Organic produce may be called Organic baby food.
But how do we know it is organic what we buy, and what can we expect from Organic baby food on the shelves in the shop? Are they quite ok or are the benefits to cook organic meals at home significant benefits for the nutritional value?
How do we know that baby food is organic?
Organic baby food is made from produce that is grown without the use of synthetic chemicals, fertilisers and GMO’s.
In Australia, there is also a logo you can find on the majority of organic products. The logo can only be used when the company is Australian Certified Organic. The emblem is representing everything where organic is about. As a customer, you can be ensured the product you buy is up to the standards when there is a certification on the packaging.
So definitely look for the label stating Australian Certified Organic, or whatever the certification title is from the country you live in.
They are rigorous standards, and companies have to meet those standards to use the logo on their products claiming to be Organic.
In the United States, there are similar rules and guidelines for labelling organic foods such as the standards of using the quotation, ‘100 per cent organic’ can only be used to label products that contain 100 organic ingredients. (this is excluding salt and water as these are considered natural)
In America, there is the USDA having standards in place for Organic products. There is a choice to become USDA certified. You don’t have to be certified to sell organic products. However, being certified have significant benefits as you create a lot of trust towards your customers carrying a logo proofing you are a certified brand.
However, as said before it is not compulsory, and brands can choose to label their products organic without certification but what is written on your label have to be correct information.
So we can buy certified organic baby food in the shop, and we know for sure it is organic, which is excellent. But only being organic don’t tell as much about the nutritious value though. So what do we buy when we buy store-bought baby food?
How nutritious is store-bought Organic Baby Food?
I often wondered how much nutrition is in the processed food we buy in the supermarket. Many claims are made on the labels how great the products are, but I often asked myself how nutritious the food is.
I am not a nutritionist you know, and I am not able to give you qualified nutritionist advice, I share what I learned during my research about (organic) baby food, please do your research too.
I love cooking and cook for a living too. I love to share my findings with you, and I hope that what I learned can give some clarity to parents interested in learning more about processed baby food.
I hope I can contribute to making an informed decision about Baby food you are happy wit
There is a reason why homemade baby food goes brown within a short period, but pre-packaged baby food can stay good for months.
Well, it may not come as a surprise that there are several systems in place to prevent baby food from going off. Heating food up till high temperatures for extended periods ensure germs are not present in dangerous levels.
Other methods used are adding acids to babies diner and removing oxidant to ensure babies food can stay good for more extended periods.
Of course, these methods are used for a reason, to keep babies’ food safe and minimise germs to increase to dangerous levels. (there are brands out there using different methods as well where they try to maintain higher nutritious levels).
As you may expect, some of the valuable nutrition of babies diner is compensated in creating a long shelf-life product.
(I don’t say that processed baby food from the supermarket is inadequate to feed your baby, I raise awareness of the nutrition values what decreases in the process of making the product shelf live proof)
Making your organic baby food
I know we are all busy and it is not everybody, and that is just fine. For myself, I truly enjoy cooking for my baby and family. I cook for a living too. It gives me great joy to make tasty and nutritious meals for both my little girls and my husband, of course. I am not able to only use Organic produce, as much as I would love to, though, but I use organic as much as I can.
We try to grow as much as possible fruit and vegetables in our garden, which is an excellent start for preparing Organic meals for our baby and family. When you try to produce what naturally grows in your environment, you are in for a higher success rate.
I most definitely need it as I don’t have green fingers, luckily my husband saves me with his gardening skills.
Luckily more Organic produce becomes available as the popularity multiplies in the society of today. Unfortunately, the price tag is often still firm, and I find the harvest still limited compared to non-organic produce.
However, store-bought baby food has most definitely the win of being convenient, there is a price tag as well, and home-cooked meals are still a win for your wallet most of the time.
Baby food and our environment
One of the brands of pre-packed baby foods showing a more sustainable willingness is Nestle, who Announces baby food industry’s first single material Pouch. The pouch is made from food-safe plastic and is fully recyclable.
Gerber is a subsidiary from Nestle residing in the US and leading in early childhood nutrition in the US. The single material food pouches are designed for recycling and available in the US and Finland at this stage only. Nestle’s goals are to make 100% of their packaging recyclable or reusable by 2025.
The other option which is more sustainable is using reusable baby food pouches. If you enjoy home cooking and interested and able to prepare some baby food at home, there are great options nowadays to make your meals and store them in safe pouches which are entirely free from BPA, Phthalate and PVC.
Reusable pouches are an excellent Eco-friendly choice for your baby food, and they are available in super cute design as well.
The other option I like is making your icy poles for baby and pop them in Reusable Ice Pop Pouches. A great
benefit doing it this way is your control to make the recipe exactly how you like it for your baby and making them as healthy as you want.
I like to blend a banana in most of my recipes as this give a nice sweet flavour. Some of our favourites are banana mango, passionfruit mango banana, or raspberry, strawberry and banana.
I sometimes freeze pureed pumpkin and sweet potato as well, my girls love everything frozen so sometimes when it is not popular as a warm option, I offer it in a frozen choice what is often a hit. If the girls are not keen on breakfast, I sometimes do a frozen fruit icy pole, and they never get rejected.
Final thoughts on Organic baby food
To ensure the Organic standards of store-bought Organic baby food, you can check for an Organic logo of the country you are living (different countries have different Organic certification they can apply for).
The logo will assure you that the product meets the standards the certifier put into places (such as a certain amount of Organic ingredients a product have to include to label it organic, or if they want to tag a product 100% Organic, the ingredients in the product have to be 100% Organic (this is excluding salt and water as they are considered natural)
If you are keen to make your organic baby food, it is word considering a veg patch when you can do so. It is such a great feeling preparing food out of your garden. If homegrown produce is not an option, local markets may offer the best choice for Organic produce.
Prepare the organic produce and give baby as whole fruit and vegetable (baby-led weaning) or as an organic meal as a puree. You can store, freeze, heat and microwave the meals in reusable pouches for your convenience, at the same time an Eco-friendly choice too.
You can heat, cool, freeze and microwave the pouches and they are available in such cute designs.
For hot summer days, you can make icy poles in reusable Icy Pole Pouches, a hit for many children, and you can make them as healthy and organic as you wish to do so.
I sometimes make smoothies and freeze them in icy poles and give them for breakfast, the girls love it, and I feel great knowing what I give them. (you can leave the milk out and do fruit or some greek yoghurt blended with fruit for babies under 1)
I am far away from fully organic or sustainable perfect, but I am on a journey to take baby steps to more durable choices one at the time. I try to include more natural products in our daily routines, and I am thoroughly enjoying my journey and sharing it with you.
I hope you enjoyed reading this and It was helpful and inspiring for you. Please leave a comment below if you like to share your experience with us, we love to hear and learn from you.