FEEDI N G A N D WEA N I N G
An interest in healthy eating and nutrition has seen the feeding and weaning category grow rapidly over the last few years, with more product and choice on offer than ever before. Progressive Preschool looks at the importance of encouraging a healthy appetite.
f all the things parents worry about, nutrition and food is almost always found somewhere near the top of the list. Are they eating enough? Are they eating too much? What about the salt, sugar, fibre, fat... That’s before we even start to think about the logistics of teaching a six-month-old to
FOOD FOCUS “Feeding and weaning is a fastgrowing sector in our business and we work very closely with our suppliers to ensure we are stocking the top trends and most practical products for parents. Consumers are most definitely more focused on weaning and what the best product on the market is. Parents are much more conscious about what their child needs to consume to ensure they have a healthy lifestyle from a very young age. At Hippychick we’ve always believed products need to be designed for both child and parents; to engage the child and be practical, easy to clean and competitively priced for the parents.” Alex Molyneux, marketing executive, Hippychick
Above: The latest addition to the Skip Hop ZOO range is a clever insulated food jar which keeps food warm for up to seven hours or cold for five. Right: Vital Baby’s BabyFood Pro Blender steams and blends fruits, vegetables and meats and fish, preparing perfect purees for first feeds and chunkier food for later.
swallow solid food without choking. Following the advent of Media Snug’s nationwide initiative Weaning Week (which takes place in early May each year), parents, carers, brands, experts and retailers have come together to talk about weaning and feeding, adding an element of community to the conversation. “There is definitely more focus on the feeding and weaning category these days,” agreed Vital Baby’s director, Dean Tollman. “External factors such as the childhood obesity crisis and healthy eating campaigns have seen more information and products made available to parents, who are realising
Above: Hippychick’s new line of licensed DC bibs are great for tricking little ones into thinking they are playing dress-up!
the importance of setting their children on the right track for life.” The trend for healthier and more natural eating has also filtered through into baby and toddler food. Vegetarian and vegan baby food is predicted to grow by 10.6% between 2016-2021 (the Vegan Society, 2019) while baby-led weaning is becoming increasingly popular. “Parents are asking for products that lend themselves to being used for both types of weaning,” said Dean. “There is more demand for choice and products which offer flexibility.” Vital Baby offers a full range of feeding options, with particularly strong sales for flexible products such as the BabyFood Pro blender, which can be used for everything from warming milk for newborns to food prep for toddlers. As the founder of baby cutlery company Doddl, Catherine Dodd knows a thing or two about the toddler feeding category. “Introducing babies and children to the right tools at mealtimes is critical,” she explains. “The experiences children have at mealtimes have a lifelong impact on their relationships with food.” “In the past we have tended to feed children ourselves for far PROGRES SIVE PRESCHOOL