The baby food category is ripe for reinvention, says OrgaNums

By Elaine Watson contact

- Last updated on GMT

Refrigerated babyfood presents merchandising challenges for retailers, but has the potential to create a new super-premium subsegment in a category in need of fresh thinking, says Ashley Rossi, founder of organic baby food brand OrgaNums, which debuted at the Healthy & Natural Show in Chicago.  

One of several new brands offering refrigerated products treated with high pressure processing (HPP) instead of heat, Naperville, Illinois-based OrgaNums ​is targeting two sets of shoppers.

First, says Rossi: "Parents that are making their own baby food because they don't like what's on offer in stores; and second: parents who don't know anything about better alternatives like OrgaNums​ [and want to trade up from what they are buying currently]."

High pressure processing (HPP) – whereby foods or beverages are put into a high-pressure chamber that is flooded with cold water and pressurized (thus the ‘cold-pressured’ moniker) in order to kill pathogens without heat - enables OrgaNums to produce baby food that tastes exactly like the stuff you’d make at home, with no preservatives, colors or flavors and a shelf-life long enough to secure national distribution.

Cold-pressed babyfood?

While firms such as Plum Organics​ would dispute that their wares are bland and "devoid of nutrition"​ owing to the heat-treatment they go through, OrgaNums and other players such as PureSpoon​ and Once Upon a Farm​ claim that HPP could transform baby food in the same way its has revitalized the juice category.

The value of our product for parents that are currently making their own babyfood is time," ​Rossi told FoodNavigator-USA at the Healthy & Natural Show​. "It’s so time consuming to hand wash, steam, blend, mix and freeze, so we do that for them, and saving time when you are raising children is priceless.

“But we’re also targeting parents that ​[currently buy shelf-stable babyfood from the store] haven’t learned about this category ​[about HPP babyfood] yet​... Just because something has been done a certain way for so long doesn’t mean that that is the way it should be.”


Where should chilled babyfood go in the store?

In Rossi’s view, the best place to merchandise her products – which are made in a facility in Wisconsin – are in coolers in the babyfood section, rather than next to yogurts in the dairy aisle: “When parents go shopping for babyfood, they go to the babyfood section."

Feedback from retailers has been extremely positive, despite the logistical challenges, said Rossi. “They see the babyfood space as something that needs to change.”

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