Mothers making baby food – a pernicious trend?

Sometimes I wonder if some corporate executives ever stop to think what their words sound like. I was reading an article in the New York Times yesterday, As Parents Make Their Own Baby Food, Industry Tries to Adapt, by Stephanie Strom. Evidently sales of prepared baby food are falling because more parents are making their own baby food. Doesn’t that sound like a good thing? Instead of relying on the factory kitchens of large corporations, parents are making fresh food for their babies. Great! Right?

But it’s not a good thing if you are a corporation relying on sales of baby food for your profits. According to Jeff Boutelle, chief executive of Beech-Nut Nutrition (owned by Hero Group of Switzerland), mothers making their own baby food at home is a pernicious trend! This is the quote in the article:

“Underlying our problem, there was a silent, pernicious trend going on that no one was really paying much attention to,” he [Jeff Boutelle] said — mothers making their own food at home.
“Today, moms are 50 times more busy and don’t have the cooking skills that women did when we introduced baby food 80 years ago,” Mr. Boutelle said. “But the category is so bad that they’re going to the grocery and spending an afternoon boiling and cooking and filling jars and sealing them because they don’t like what’s on the shelf.”

Well, hopefully this pernicious trend of parents making their babies’ food will continue, and as far as the women not having the cooking skills of moms from yesteryear, if that is the case, the solution is teaching those skills, not reducing them by offering even more processed foods.

pernicious – having a harmful effect, esp. in a gradual or subtle way: the pernicious influences of the mass media.

One Reply to “Mothers making baby food – a pernicious trend?”

  1. This is a subject near to me. I made my child’s baby food. She was fine and would probably have done just as well on commercial baby food but it didn’t look too appetizing to me and was also expensive. More recently I had the good fortune to spend time with two wonderful parents and their twins, who were born very early, weighing just 2 pounds each. When they finally, after months of intensive care and surgeries, came home, they were fragile indeed. Scary to hold and feed and care for. Among the many things their parents did for them was the time their Mom spent learning to cook. Very early she needed to thicken her milk for them to help keep them from throwing it up and a smart doctor suggested adding avocado. This worked beautifully and helped the babies gain weight. It meant considerable time spent pureèing and straining, and making sure there was always a supply of ripe, organic avocados. Later she went on to supplement her own milk with home made formula (read the ingredients in commercial formulas!) and then to make all their food as they began to eat solids. …The short version is that these “babies” are now about 2-1/2 and are thriving and healthy, despite all the predictions to the contrary. It took a lot of medical science as well as good nutrition, of course.

    The good news about this “travesty” is that it is prompting the manufacturers to offer better food. My daughter will use if for her baby in a pinch, or when travelling. Her rule of thumb is “not too many ingredients, with not too many syllables.” But the many advantages of making their food yourself that the NYT article suggests are real.

Leave a Reply