Katya Witham
Katya Witham is Senior Food & Drink Analyst, identifying and exploring the major trends across various FMCG categories, giving invaluable insights into the German market.
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In recent years, the European baby and toddler food market has been undergoing a rapid transformation. It has evolved from a traditional jarred meal assortment to a more exciting and innovative product selection to meet the demand for fresher and more natural tasting baby food.

Driven by the trend towards naturalness and cleaner diets, European consumers are increasingly reaching for fresher and healthier food options for themselves, and they’re also demanding the same for their children. While the European food and drink industry has swiftly responded to consumer demand for more freshness, baby food has been slow to embrace this trend. Although the share of chilled baby meals has increased significantly in recent years, still over 90% of baby savoury meals launched in Europe in 2017 were shelf stable.This highlights potentially underused opportunity in the chilled baby meal segment.

Chilled baby meals can help alleviate parental guilt

In today’s increasingly time-strapped society, lots of working parents don’t have time to cook during the week, being potentially riddled with guilt about serving store-bought food to their children. With this in mind, there is an opportunity for baby food brands to develop nutritionally balanced, better-for-you chilled baby and toddler meals in convenient packaging, which is still close to home-made fare.

In recent years, high-pressure processing has been making an appearance within many different food and drink categories, from packaged meats and prepared meals, juices, dairy and most recently the world of baby food. High-pressure processing is a non-thermal process of destroying bacteria, allowing food to retain a higher proportion of nutrients compared to standard methods of sterilisation. Retaining all of the goodness of the ingredients going into baby food, high-pressure processing brings a whole new level of desirability in terms of healthiness to baby food.

The demand amongst parents for fresh, nutritious and convenient baby food is unlikely to abate. This offers baby food manufacturers an opportunity to experiment with innovative chilled products that merge parents’ desire for freshness and quality with convenient packaging. As awareness of the benefits of cold-pressed products is becoming more prevalent than ever, the high-pressure processing method could be a perfect fit to offer fresh and nutritious chilled alternatives to most other baby foods.