PRODUCTS: <br />Natural/Organic Baby Foods Continue Quest for the New

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PRODUCTS: <br />Natural/Organic Baby Foods Continue Quest for the New

Their products have already joined the mainstream, but natural/organic baby food manufacturers keep upping the ante for consumers by introducing exciting new items to the segment. At the crest of this wave of innovation is Beech-Nut, which, despite its venerable age (the company was founded back in 1931), boasts an all-natural profile. In May, as part of its “Advancing Nutrition” platform, which outlines strict nutritional standards that all new products must follow to wear the Beech-Nut label, the brand launched a line of Stage 3 jarred infant food called Homestyle. Like all Beech-Nut items, the Homestyle products, besides being all-natural, contain added vitamins and minerals.

“We know that moms want the best in nutrition for their infants, and our mission is to give them nutritious, convenient and all-natural options to meet the needs of today’s busy families,” noted Christoph Rudolf, president and CEO of Latham, N.Y.-based Beech-Nut, a subsidiary of Switzerland’s Hero Group. “At Beech-Nut, our goal is to keep innovating with new foods that are made the way mom would make them at home.”

Homestyle Stage 3 Fruits are made with more texture for a baby’s physical developmental changes from the age of about 8 months and up. Offering such varieties as Pears & Blueberries; Apples, Cherries & Plums; Cinnamon Raisin & Pears; and Peaches, Apples & Banana, the line is an excellent source of vitamin C, and contains 5 to 7 grams of fiber per serving, according to Beech-Nut.

Among smaller organic baby food makers, there’s been plenty of product development as well. This month marks the retail debut of what Plum Organics calls the first and only complete line of organic snacks created to encourage toddlers to feed themselves. Available in nine flavors, the three new items -TOTs Mish Mash™, a 100 percent fruit puree in squeezable, resealable packaging; TOTs Fruity Fingerfuls™ freeze-dried fruit and whole grain pieces; and TOTs Fiddlesticks™ gluten-free snack sticks -provide easy snacking and packing with playful forms, flavors and textures for the independent eater-in-training.

Each snack additionally offers a full range of nutrients toddlers need, including fruits, vegetables, beans and grains, according to the brand, which was recently acquired by The Nest Collective of Emeryville, Calif.

Meanwhile, Tasty Brand, Inc., maker of Tastybaby® frozen organic purées, has grown  its product line with Organic Infant Cereals, as well as expanding the brand beyond baby food with Organic Fruit Snacks. Both products were on display at last month’s Summer Fancy Food Show in New York. Fortified with nutritional supplements such as DHA and ARA to support brain and eye development, prebiotics to aid digestion and protect against the development of allergies, and essential vitamins, minerals and iron, the new Organic Infant Cereals are the first organic products formulated for use during different times of the day, according to the company.

Additionally, the Los Angeles-based brand is one of the few to introduce a 100 percent organic gummy. Free of high-fructose corn syrup, gluten, fat, and artificial colors, flavors and preservatives, and made with real fruit juice, the product offers 100 percent of a child’s recommended daily requirement of vitamin C per serving.