Important notice to customers — product packaging changesLearn More

NEW FOOD PACKAGING IN STORE NOW

From August 2018, customers will notice our rebranded food packaging start to appear on shelf in all major stockists.

  • CURRENT Packaging
  • new Packaging

We are excited to announce our new packaging will start to appear on shelf from August 2018. This transition to new packaging will occur over a number of months. During this time there will be a mix of current and new packaging on shelf.

There are no major changes to these products, in some instances there is a small name change or slight recipe improvement, see below for the full details.

Products purchased via the website will be delivered to customers in our old packaging until the end of October. From November, products ordered from the website will be delivered in the new packaging.

Please note, our Infant Formula packaging will not be rebranded until later in 2019.

For any questions, connect with our team of accredited practising Dietitians on +61 3 6332 9200

Product name changes

  • Cereal Name Changes
  • CURRENT Packaging Organic Baby Rice
  • NEW Packaging Organic Rice with Prebiotic (GOS) Note: Our Baby Rice recipe has been upgraded to now include GOS Prebiotic
  • CURRENT Packaging Organic Vanilla Rice Custard
  • NEW Packaging Organic Milk & Vanilla Baby Rice
  • CURRENT Packaging Organic Apple & Cinnamon Porridge
  • NEW Packaging Organic Apple & Cinnamon Baby Porridge
  • Ready To Serve Name Changes
  • CURRENT Packaging Organic Banana, Pear & Mango
  • New Packaging Organic Banana, Pear, Apple & Mango
  • CURRENT Packaging Organic Mango, Blueberry & Apple
  • New Packaging Organic Blueberry, Mango & Apple
  • CURRENT Packaging Organic Peach & Apple
  • New Packaging Organic Grape, Apple & Peach
  • CURRENT Packaging Organic Pumpkin & Tomato Risotto
  • New Packaging Organic Pumpkin, Sweet Potato & Tomato
  • CURRENT Packaging Organic Broccoli, Beef & Brown Rice
  • New Packaging Organic Beef & Vegetables
  • Note: We have also upgraded some of our RTS recipes to remove added sugars and to remove some of the more complex ingredients that are not required for young children such as Tamari.
  • RUSKS NAME CHANGES
  • CURRENT Packaging Organic Milk Rusks Toothiepegs
  • New Packaging Organic Milk Rusks

How to choose the best baby food

Choosing commercially available baby food can be quite confusing. You are often left in the baby food supermarket aisle scratching your head trying to determine which option is the best for your baby. There are a number of different brands now available in commercial supermarkets. Some products come as complete meals, some in jars, pouches, and boxes but how do you determine the good from the bad?! This article outlines how to pick the best baby food products for your baby that are full of wholesome ingredients, free from any nasty artificial additives and preservatives and will provide your baby with the nutrition they need for proper growth and development.

1. How do you know if your baby food is the best choice?

The first thing to remember commercial baby food products provide a convenience to parents and are designed to provide your baby with extra nutrition outside of their usual milk consumption. In order to determine which foods are best, you must first determine what meals you are wanting to use these products for- Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner or Snacking. The great thing is that these products can be used at any point during the day and are not specific to a meal time.

Product ranges

  • Cereals – all infant cereals should be fortified by law with Iron and make for a wonderful first food when you commence solids. These products are often used right up to 12 months and you can add additional ingredients such as fruit and yoghurt as your baby grows, to increase the nutrition content
  • Snacks – snacks come in all forms; teething rusks, fruit and vegetable puffs and biscuits. Providing these are targeted at infants, you may wish to include these as an option
  • Yoghurts and Custards – whilst not a great deal of options on the market, infant yoghurt and custard products provide an excellent source of calcium
  • Cheese – cheese does not necessarily need to be a baby specific food and regular cheese might be offered to your baby. You may wish to start with softer cheese such as mozzarella which will provide a wonder source of calcium for your little one’s teeth and bones
  • Fruit and vegetable purees – most baby food companies will manufacture a mix of fruit and vegetable purees. These are a great way to introduce new foods to your baby and provide a great source of nutrients and fibre
  • Main meal combinations – there are a number of meal combinations available now that may include meat, chicken, fish or legumes as the main protein mixed with rice or pasta, and vegetables. These options can often be given to infants from around 8+ months and combine a range of different tastes and texture for the more mature palate
  • Pasta – pasta is a staple and whilst regular pasta products can be offered to babies, a number of pasta brands targeted to infants will be fortified with iron and other nutrients to help boost the overall nutritional profile of the meal. They are often in shapes that are suited from 7+ months and can be served at home with sauce, meat, vegetables, or cheese

Age appropriate options

By law, all baby food manufactured and sold in Australia must contain the age suitability on the front of the packaging. This allows you to choose age appropriate options for your baby. Some products are labelled as “4+ months”. Whilst the recommendation for commencing solids in Australia is from around 6 months, this guideline is supported by the statement “not before 4 months and not after 6 months”, but this really depends on WHEN your baby is ready. Don’t be guided by the age, but rather if your baby can hold their head and neck and sit up without support, and show a keen interest in food. Products marketed as:

  • 4+ months will be soft puree with no lumps
  • 6+ months will be a puree that may be slightly thicker in consistency
  • 8+ months will be soft, small lumps
  • 10+ months, lumpy and textured
  • 12+ months will be finger foods

2. What do you look out for in the ingredient list?

Ingredients

The ingredient list will list the ingredients from the greatest quantity to the least quantity. So, if you are wanting to know if the fruit and vegetable puree is predominantly fruit or vegetable, you should be able to determine this by looking at the order of the listed ingredients. By law, all the ingredients should be listed on the back of the packaging and an allergen warning should also be provided if there are any known allergen foods or traces of those allergen foods for example: soy, fish, wheat, milk.

In order to determine if you are choosing a good baby food product, try and ensure that you understand all the ingredients listed. If there is something you are not sure about, you should look it up to determine what it is and why it has been used. If the ingredient list is too long, this should also raise alarm bells as baby food should not be that complex. Ingredients to watch for in baby food include:

  • Added sugar, honey, agave, maple syrup, brown sugar
  • Artificial sweeteners
  • Added salt
  • Ingredients you are not familiar with such as numbered food colours
  • Raw egg or meat
  • Cream and butter

Ingredients which should be a preference include fruit, vegetables, wholegrains such as brown rice, oats, cous cous and quinoa, dairy (yoghurt, custard), and meat products. In the example below, you can see that wholegrain brown rice and cous cous are the main ingredients followed by a range of organic vegetables.

Bellamy’s Organic, Chicken, Sweet Potato & Couscous, Made with brown rice

Artificial additives and preservatives

Many parents struggle to make sense of food labels and to understand what is best for their baby or child’s nutritional requirements. And unfortunately it’s very difficult to determine the health effects of some common food additives. For many additives, flavours and colours, manufacturers have the option of listing them either by name or number. Often parents will search for specific numbered additives and not realise they are spelled out on the packaging – often in scientific names that are unfamiliar. This is especially true of artificial colours, a number of which have been linked to hyperactivity in children. Below is an example of a sweet biscuit targeted at young children. As you will see there are a number of preservatives, colours and flavours listed by name or by number.

Source: Woolworths online

Often parents don’t realise their children are being affected by a specific food until it is eliminated, for example if the grocery store runs out of a favourite snack. Researching the effects on children of additives, colours and flavours is highly difficult, particularly as not all children are affected the same way. Everything from the child’s genes to the volume of intake can have an effect. It’s for this reason that a diet free from artificial and processed foods is safest and healthiest for children.

3. How do you read nutrition labels?

Reading nutrition labels might add a few minutes to your supermarket shop but we think this is for good reason. This is a really easy way to determine if your product is a healthy choice. The most important things to look out for when reading a food label are:

Nutrition information

Target

Sugars per 100g of the product

 Less than or equal to 10g per 100g (unless the product is made entirely of fruit)

Sodium per 100g of the product

 Less than or equal to 120mg (unless the product is cheese)
Less than or equal to 400mg (upper limit)

If we look at the nutrition information below, per 100g, we can see that the sugars and sodium levels are within the target range which suggests this product is acceptable and a great choice for babies.

Sugars = 0.8g per 100g
Sodium = 12mg per 100g

Bellamy’s Organic, Chicken, Sweet Potato & Couscous, Made with brown rice

Summary

Whilst there are a number of baby foods available on the market, it can be easy to determine a healthy product for your baby to not only provide convenience but ensure that their nutritional needs are not compromised. You can do this by checking the ingredients list for healthy ingredients free from artificial preservatives and additives, and you can review the nutritional information to ensure the product does not contain added sugars or added salt.

Breastfeeding is best

The World Health Organisation recommends that breastfeeding is best for your baby such that breastfeeding will provide the best start to life nutritionally and will also bring other benefits to a mother and her baby. Having a balanced diet when breastfeeding is also important. Infant Formulas should only be used after you’ve sought advice from a doctor or health practitioner. A decision not to breastfeed can be difficult to reverse and introducing partial bottle feeding may reduce the supply of breast milk. It is also wise to consider the cost of infant formula. If you use infant formula, all preparation and feeding instructions must be followed as per the manufacturer’s instructions. This is important for your baby’s health.

Disclaimer: The content of this document is solely for educational purposes and should not be substituted for medical advice. You are solely responsible for forming your own opinions and conclusions on such matters and for making your own independent assessment of the information. Please consult your doctor if you are concerned about your baby’s health.

About the author

Marisa Nastasi is an Accredited Practising Dietitian for Bellamy’s Organic. She specialises in children's nutrition and has recently completed further studies in paediatric dietetics. She has worked in the industry for 8 years and has developed a strong working knowledge on how good quality diets can benefit the health of children so that they can develop to their full potential.

Important Notice to Parents and Guardians

  • The World Health Organisation recommends that breastfeeding is best for your baby.
  • Having a balanced diet when breastfeeding is also important. Infant Formulas should only be used after you’ve sought advice from a doctor or health practitioner.
  • A decision not to breastfeed can be difficult to reverse and introducing partial bottle feeding may reduce the supply of breast milk. It is also wise to consider the cost of infant formula.
  • If you use infant formula, all preparation and feeding instructions must be followed as per the manufacturer’s instructions. This is important for your baby’s health.