Knowing baby food content Growing sales 

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This article, Knowing baby food content, was last updated on 02 June 2008 and is now out of date and held in our online archive for reference. Explore our latest Baby & child articles.

Baby food

The increase in popularity of organic food may mean that babies aren't getting enough iron

Sales of organic baby food have increased massively in the past few years - we now spend more on it than on the non-organic version. Three out of four babies eat organic food regularly.

At one time, brands such as Organix and HiPP were the main providers of organic baby food but more recently Heinz and Cow & Gate have launched their own ranges.

Smaller companies, such as Fresh Daisy and Truuuly Scrumptious, have sprung up in the last few years, offering freshly-prepared organic purées and meals through specialist shops and mail order.

Iron content

But some experts are concerned that the increase in popularity of organic food may mean that babies aren't getting enough iron. This essential nutrient is often used to fortify baby food, but it's not put in organic food because there are restrictions on what can be added to it.

Paediatric dietician Judy More told us that, typically, fortified non-organic savoury baby food has around 1.1mg of iron per jar whereas the organic equivalent has just 0.5mg. She estimates that a baby fed exclusively on commercially-prepared organic food would consume 20% less iron than a baby eating commercially-prepared non-organic baby food.

Other experts are less concerned and say that a healthy, balanced diet should give babies enough of the vital nutrient. Foods such as meat, fish and pulses are high in iron. But you need to give your baby plenty of fruit and vegetables as well - they provide the vitamin C that helps your baby's body absorb the iron.

While this doesn't necessarily mean that organically-fed babies do not get enough iron, we know that many babies in the UK have low levels of iron in their blood. Baby foods with higher iron content may provide a useful safety net for some.