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Thursday, Sep 28, 2023

Spooning Up Homemade Approach

How does a maker of infant and toddler products break into a crowded baby food market dominated by huge companies such Nestle S.A., the maker of Gerber? By letting parents do the cooking. Munchkin Inc. of North Hills has released a product line called Fresh Baby Food System that seizes on the growing trend of homemade baby food – how babies were fed until the advent of prepared food more than a century ago. The system offers a three-step system allowing parents to chop and steam vegetables, grind them into a puree and then store them in the refrigerator or freezer. “The target market is primarily new moms that are giving their babies solids and who will continue to have vegetables in their diets,” said Michelle McMichael, a Munchkin brand manager. The line hit Target and Wal-Mart shelves last month and is available on Amazon. com. The complete system costs $40, significantly less than similar products made by Williams-Sonoma or other competitors. In developing the product line, Munchkin studied emerging trends in the baby food market and found that first-time mothers in particular preferred making their own fresh baby food – a step beyond buying organic baby foods. Paul Kurnit, principal of KidShop, a Cortland Manor, N.Y. children’s marketing consultancy, said parents are receptive to healthy and affordable alternatives to packaged baby food. “They have responded brilliantly to doctors’ recommendations,” he said, noting doctors now recommend infants eat solid foods as early as four months. – Lucy Guanuna

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