By the time your baby reaches 5-6 months of age, you’ve probably considered giving them a taste of real (baby) food. At least, that’s how it went with us.
Our daughter was still on breast milk, and our pediatrician told us that we could continue that way until about a year before real food became more of a necessity. However, if we wanted to start introducing baby food, we should do it with the understanding that it’s more “for fun”.
It helps get your child acquainted to new tastes and textures, even if it’s not their main source of nutrition (while still on breast milk or formula).
As we do with everything else, because we live and die by our computers, we started researching to see what the best baby food brands were.
Here’s what we found.
Best Baby Food Brands in 2017
I feel like when we were growing up, everything was Gerber…or at least, that’s all I could remember. You obviously see a lot more brands of baby food when you’re browsing the baby section of the grocery store (or when shopping online).
It can be a little overwhelming, with so many options today.
There’s a lot of organic stuff, lots of different flavors, packaging styles, etc. They’ve done a good job making the food look appealing to adults.
Before we were ready to actually start giving our daughter real food, we bought a little pack of “apple strawberry banana” baby food…
…and ate it ourselves. Oops. It was good though.
Anyway, here are the best baby food brands:
Known for their purees, Gerber has been around forever.
I’m pretty sure I ate this stuff over 30 years ago as a baby. Gerber has actually been producing baby food since 1928, so they kind of know what they’re doing.
They have some excellent variety – everything from pureed fruit, to meat, to even yogurt blends. The food also comes in the traditional jars, the plastic packs, and the pouches, depending on what you like.
They break their baby food down into three tiers:
- 1st Foods: These are designed for the first time your baby is trying real foods. In other words, the ingredients are simple (and as they put it – “gentle”) and they have smooth textures. The goal here is just to get your baby familiar with eating real food.
- Examples: Pureed peas; pureed peaches
- 2nd Foods: Now that your baby has a taste for real food, they kick it up a notch and go for a little more complexity. Now we’re looking at new ingredient combinations, which they claim will “help encourage the development of healthy eating habits.”
- Examples: Carrot apple mango puree; pears & spinach
- 3rd Foods: Once your baby has experienced some complexity in his or her food, it’s time to step it up to another level: steak and lobster! Just kidding… 3rd foods is just another step toward more complex foods with a bit more texture (more chunks of food, not as smooth).
- Examples: Chicken noodle dinner; apples, kale, & fig
These tiers are pretty common across all brands (although each may have a slight variation), so I’m not going to waste your time re-explaining the same thing for each of the other brands below. 🙂
I’m pretty sure that every baby food brand nowadays carries a line of organic products, but Plum Organics puts “organic” front and center.
They’re known mostly for their pouches for the pureed/blended foods (you probably won’t find them selling baby food in jars).
It’s a pretty easy format that allows you to squeeze the food into a bowl or onto a spoon, which makes it a bit less messy when you’re on the go (vs. digging around in a jar).
However, they have some other interesting baby/toddler food products as well:
- Super Puffs – organic, puffed cereal snacks with a variety of unique flavors (I thought the “blueberry with purple sweet potato” was pretty unique)
- Teensy Fruits – mini fruit snacks made from real fruit (this is for kids 12 months and older)
- Little Yums – I hadn’t seen anything like this before, but these are flavored teething wafers that dissolve as they are “teethed” upon. Plum Organics claim that they encourage self-feeding for teething babies.
3) Happy Baby
Happy Baby is a newer baby food brand, launched in 2006. Like many other baby food brands (especially the newer ones), this one is all organic.
Like Plum Organics, their signature product comes in pouches. I like their packaging – it prominently displays whatever fruits or vegetables are inside, and makes it looks pretty appetizing.
In addition to regular pouched, pureed food, they have a few other interesting types of baby food products:
- Gentle Teethers – These are teething wafers, much like the “Little Yums” mentioned above for Plum Organics.
- Superfood Puffs – This is their line of puffed cereal snacks, for which they have some interesting flavors (again, very similar to Plum Organics).
- Yummy Yogis – I thought these were really intriguing…they’re freeze-dried yogurt and fruit snacks (and they also have a Greek yogurt variety).
- Coconut Creamies – Another unique one: Freeze-dried veggie and fruit snacks made with coconut milk.
Although Happy Baby doesn’t have the long history that some of the other brands do, they definitely have some innovative baby food products.
Ella’s Kitchen has a somewhat different story than many of the other brands. Most of the above brands were originally started by moms – this one is actually started by a dad!
The name may be confusing, but Ella is actually the daughter of the founder, Paul Lindley. (You can read the full story of their background and mission here.)
This is another all-organic, mostly pouch-based baby food brand.
One thing that stands out to me about their packaging is that it looks very kid-friendly (unlike Happy Baby, whose packaging is probably more appealing to parents). Ella’s Kitchen actually speaks to this on their website: “Our bright, shiny and sometimes squidgy packaging is designed to stimulate all the senses.”
Pricing varies based on the quantity you buy (and which variety), but it’s pretty comparable to Happy Baby and Plum Organics (around $0.35/oz.).
5) Earth’s Best
Earth’s Best is known for being a high quality, organic baby food brand that’s been around for quite some time (since 1985). The food comes in both jars and pouches, and they have a pretty decent variety of flavors.
The main drawback with Earth’s Best is that they’re a little bit more expensive relative to the average baby food brand. You can generally save a bit of money by purchasing online. I use Amazon’s Subscribe and Save for everything, which is an easy 15% off whatever you’re buying.
The last brand we’re discussing here is Sprout – they’re the newest of all the brands featured here (founded in 2008). It’s interesting that most of the brands above have focused so much on providing food in a pouch; according to Sprout’s company history page, they actually “launched the very first baby food in a pouch to provide on-the-go convenience to parents.”
So, it goes without saying that they’re a pretty innovative baby food brand.
Part of the innovation is their claim that they aim to produce baby food that tastes like none other on the market. They focus on wholesome, organic baby food. I sometimes roll my eyes at a claim like this, as I imagine every one of the brands above could say the same thing. Even so, this is definitely a brand to check out.
What do you think are the best baby food brands?
There’s a lot out there, and it’s impossible to try them all, but the 6 mentioned above are all ones that come very highly recommended to parents.
With that said, I’m sure there’s something we missed. What’s your favorite baby food brand? Leave a comment below! 🙂