Baby foods 10 years ago were all in glass jars. A few products in StandUp pouches from Nestle could be found around the world. South Africa was one of the first. These were packed by Beechnut on our PSG ACE machinery.
The next few years StandUp pouches started to become the norm with the addition of baby safe spouts on the pouch. We in turn developed a patented spout with a spoon built in. Our Nishibe pouch maker manufactured pouches for the PLUM company baby food pouches for the organic market in the USA. Claim was that the food was fresher as it did not pasteurize as long as the glass jars did. The name shelf stable foods was coined. Fresh at room temperature. The glass jars are now in the minority in the baby food segment.
The latest in 2019 is goodbye to shelf-stable and hello to High Pressure Pascalization (HPP) also cold pressed process. The new baby food companies are now changing the baby food aisle by bringing fresh food directly from farm to fridge for your little ones!
The desire from today’s mothers is for fresh and safe foods. As you know, that means in most store locations you’ll find these fresh foods in the dairy section because these products are perishable (they can of course easily be taken on-the-go as they’ll last up to 4 hours unrefrigerated or, if your travels take you farther, just toss them in a cooler bag with an icepack or freeze and thaw them).
Big news, there are refrigerators stocked with HPP food pouches directly in the baby food aisle in certain locations! These super convenient fridges allow mom, or the food preparer, to skip the trip to the dairy section and grab all the baby food pouches they need, right in one place.
It’s not just the convenience, it is the overall transformation of the baby food aisle from shelf-stable to as fresh as it gets without the hassle of homemade. This is the new market segment called HPP and cold pressed. Shelf stable is out, glass jars are gone and HPP in pouches and refrigeration is in. Big baby food companies are struggling to catch up. Our SN and PSG LEE machinery groups are leading the charge with high speed pouch and spout filling machinery.
Fresh, nutrient-packed foods are essential for a baby’s overall health. Speaking of nutrient-packed, studies show that certain HPP foods may actually contain more nutrients than fresh food, as HPP has been shown to affect the bioavailability of certain nutrients.
What is bioavailability? Technically it is the “amount of a nutrient in a food that the body may ultimately use to perform specific physiological functions” such as digestion and absorption. Your body can more easily absorb and utilize vitamins, minerals and various phytochemicals from certain foods over others, but there are other ways to affect bioavailability. You may have heard, for example, that cooking tomatoes increases the bioavailability of lycopene found in them. However, as we’ve learned with shelf-stable food, exposure to heat can also result in nutrient loss. On the flip side of heating/cooking, HPP helps to both retain nutritional attributes of fresh foods and sometimes increase the bioavailability of the nutrition in your food.
The big question is, are HPP and cold pressed foods healthier than homemade? In some cases, yes! Companies not watching the market, or understanding the new generation mothers, are out of the segment, and we all know first in is hard to beat.
So, let’s all raise a pouch to all the moms and dads out there and the next generation of fresh, healthy and safe baby food!