Canstar Blue’s 2020 baby food review has seen Only Organic, Rafferty’s Garden, Nestlé Cerelac, ALDI Mamia and Heinz compared on child enjoyment, variety of flavours & options, ease of opening and dispensing, different packaging options available, packaging design, value for money and overall satisfaction.
There’s plenty to consider when it comes to bringing a new bundle of joy home from the hospital for the first time – whether you’re a first-time parent, or you’re bringing home a new brother or sister. There’s the stroller, the baby monitor, the nappies, and to top it all off, there’s the food. With each child having different preferences, it’s no easy task to get a child to eat – and eat healthily – regardless of their age.
As a result, many parents turn to packaged baby foods at meal times, with plenty of brands offering a wide variety of flavours to help the little ones get the essential minerals and nutrients needed for their healthy development. But with so many options on supermarket shelves, narrowing down which brand to put in the shopping trolley can quickly become a task in itself, particularly if your child has allergies or they’re fussy when it comes to food.
To help take some of the stress of being a parent off your shoulders, we’ve asked nearly 500 mums and dads for their feedback on the baby food products they purchased from a supermarket in the last three months. They rated brands on child enjoyment, packaging design, ease of opening and dispensing, different packaging options available, variety of flavours and options, value for money and overall satisfaction. Manufacturers which received the minimum sample of 30 responses are featured in our report.
Only Organic has planted itself as the new champion for baby foods, scraping ALDI Mamia off its two-year consecutive winning streak. It was the only brand to receive a five-star review for overall satisfaction, and was also rated best for child enjoyment, variety of flavours and options, packaging design, and ease of opening & dispensing. Only Organic also scored three stars for value for money, and four stars for the different packaging options available.
Here are the best baby food brands in Australia, as rated by consumers in Canstar Blue’s 2020 review:
Aussie bubs have clearly been loving Only Organic, with the brand having rated best for overall satisfaction and for most of the other categories. Rafferty’s Garden and Nestlé Cerelac landed on a respectable four stars, while ALDI Mamia and Heinz rounded up the scores on three stars.
Although Only Organic isn’t the only manufacturer that families are cooing over. ALDI Mamia achieved the only five-star rating for value for money, while Nestlé Cerelac and Heinz managed to beat this year’s winner when it came to different packaging options available.
Nestlé Cerelac similarly earned another five-star rating for packaging design, alongside ALDI Mamia and Only Organic, with Rafferty’s Garden also getting full marks for its variety of flavours and options.
Using ingredients grown on certified organic farms, Only Organic offers a range of natural baby foods for 4+ months and upwards, including a range of pouches, finger foods and meals for all times of the day. Foods include certified organic ingredients, with no added preservatives, artificial colours or flavours used, in addition to using non-BPA packaging.
The ‘First Foods’ range, made for 4+ months, are smooth cereals and pouches for easy eating. Split into fruit and savoury pouches, parents and babies are spoilt for choice, with flavours including apple, peach and apricot, along with banana, sweet potato and quinoa. While slightly more expensive than some of its competitors, Only Organic 120g pouches will typically set you back around $2 per pouch, depending on which supermarket you visit, but may be worth the price increase if you’re set on going organic.
Only Organic’s ‘Second Foods’ range – made for 6+ months – includes cereals, teething rusks, as well as pouches for breakfast, savoury meals and desserts. Savoury meals include flavours such as cauliflower, broccoli and cheddar, along with rice risotto and spring lamb, while kids will no doubt look forward to the tasty dessert flavours of apple or mango custard. The brand also offers a range of foods for 8+ and 10+ months, plus for kindy ages, which includes rice cakes and other snacks. Only Organic also outlines its ingredients and allergens on its website.
Born in Australia back in 2007, Rafferty’s Garden has grown to become a global baby brand. With a range of food products including breakfasts, custards, purees and snacks, Rafferty’s Garden has all meal times sorted. The nutritional information and ingredients of each product are also listed on its website, so it’s easy for busy parents to decide which products to stock up on before heading down to the shops.
Rafferty’s Garden’s range begins with baby food pouches for those aged four months and older, with pear, peach and apple being some of the flavours available. Coming in 120g packets, each packet will cost $1.65 at local supermarkets and shops, with natural ingredients used. Other food pouch lines include those for 6+ months, 8+ months, and 10+ months. The entire range additionally offers cereals, snacks and yoghurt. There’s a variety of both sweet and savoury flavours on offer.
Food pouches from Rafferty’s Garden are stated to have a 13-month shelf life and don’t need to be stored in the fridge. The brand also claims there are no additives in its products.
Being one of the world’s largest food and beverage companies, it’s no surprise that Nestle also offers a baby food range. Nestlé Cerelac includes a line of infant cereals, snacks and food pouches, with a list of nutritional information and ingredients readily available via its website.
The pouches come in a wide variety of apple combinations, including rice, oats & wheat, oats & wheat with prune, muesli with pear and muesli with banana & apple. These 200g pouches are usually available for $4.60 at the supermarket. For toddlers, there are also ‘NutriPuffs’ which feature a star-shaped design to make meal time more interesting. Plus, the 50g packaging is designed to be resealable to make it convenient when on-the-go. For a savoury option, you can find a tomato and onion flavour, but for something a little sweeter, the banana and strawberry variety might be the way to go.
The Nestlé Cerelac pouches and cereals are generally said to be suitable for children who are at least four months old, although certain flavours like the apple & mango puree pouches and are recommended for those aged from six months and up, while the muesli with banana & apple cereal is said to be appropriate for kids at least eight months old.
Former winner of the past couple of years, ‘Mamia’, is ALDI’s own brand of baby care products and offers disposable nappies, wipes as well as food. For baby food, ALDI offers a wide variety of options for four months and older, including formula for toddlers, as well as fruit snacks and bars.
ALDI’s baby food pouches supposedly contain no added salt or sugars, and are free from added preservatives, colours and flavours. The products also stated to have the added benefit of inulin for healthy development. These pouches cover all meals, with breakfast and dessert flavours also available, in addition to more traditional dinner flavours, giving mums and bubs plenty of options to choose from. Pouches retail for 99c each, making them one of the more affordable ranges available.
ALDI also offers fruit and cereal bars for toddlers who are at least one-year old. These usually come with six or eight bars, depending on the flavour, and generally sell for under $3 per box. There’s additionally rice cakes for children who are at least seven months old, plus dessert and fruit options for babies aged from four or six months.
Some flavours include apple, strawberry, muesli and apricot.
While better-known for soup and baked beans, Heinz has a diversified range, including food groups such as sauces, condiments and baby foods, all available on a global scale. Heinz offers recipes on its website, with options for 4+, 6+ and 8+ months, providing a useful tool for those looking to make their own baby food. Heinz also offers articles to help you with ideas and what to expect as your child develops.
Heinz’s range of baby foods runs from infant to toddler, with a number of formulas, pouches and bars all available. Competitively-priced within the market, Heinz won’t break the bank account either, so it could be a worthwhile option if you’re overwhelmed in the supermarket aisle.
For ages 4+ months, Heinz has a range of pouches, including flavours such as apple, sweet potato and zucchini, along with more traditional flavours such as apple and peach. Each pouch is 120g, with Heinz also outlining the ingredients and nutritional information online, making it useful for parents to make a wise decision on which products to go with. For 6+ months, Heinz offers teething rusks in addition to pouches, with jars, meals and snacks also available for older ages.
While we only featured five brands in this year’s report, there are still plenty of other tasty baby food brands worth considering. Here are a few.
While it may not have the same range of products as some other brands, Baby Mum-Mum offers rice rusks snacks, offering a number of different flavours for ages 8+ months to five years. Each packet contains up to 18 rusks, with a packet usually retailing for $3 at most supermarkets.
Flavours include vegetable, apple and pumpkin, blueberry and carrot, sweet potato and carrot, banana and original, giving both kids and parents plenty of options to choose from. Its Junior Mum-Mum range features a ‘3 Vegetables’ variety, which includes sweet potato, kale and carrot, plus a ‘Mixed Berries’ sort with 16 rusks in each pack.
Baby Mum-Mum products are claimed to be free of common allergens, such as milk, peanuts, wheat, soy, tree nuts, soy, shellfish, fish, sesame and eggs. The food is also said to not contain salt, sugar or tapioca. You can check out Baby the nutritional information from the Baby Mum-Mum website.
Supermarket giant Coles provides a number of options for parents as they cruise down the baby aisle. Offering pouches for both 4+ and 6+ months, the Coles Cub Organic range has a variety of flavours for families to choose from, including chicken rice & veggies, pear banana & mango, banana custard and beef & veggies just to name a few.
Each pouch weighs in at 120g, and will cost $1.50 at the checkout, making it competitively priced on the supermarket shelf. Coles’ Cub Organic products contain no added salt or sugar, no preservatives, and no artificial colours or flavours.
Coles also lists the ingredients and nutritional information of its baby products on its website, with the benefit of allowing parents to purchase and sort out delivery options online, making grocery shopping easier for busy parents.
Australian company Bellamy’s offers a range of organic foods for infants and children aged 3+ years. All of its organic foods are said to be made with ecological, economic and social sustainability in mind, and are made and packed here in Australia. Available at supermarkets, chemists and retailers such as Big W, Bellamy’s products can also be purchased online.
For infant food, Bellamy’s provides formulas, cereals and pouches, with a number of flavours available. Bellamy’s infant formulas retail for $30 per 900g tin on its website, with the formula stated to contain added vitamins and minerals for development, coming in a BPA-free tin. Bellamy’s pouches start from $2 each for a 120g pack, with rusks costing just over the $4 mark.
With so many options of baby food in the supermarket aisles, it becomes a little overwhelming knowing what to pick. This year, it seems that price is no longer more important (compared to last year) than getting the nod from the family’s smallest critic. Child enjoyment was seen as the biggest driver of customer satisfaction for most parents (37%), followed by value for money (26%) and packaging design (14%).
Here are some of the other standout results from our latest survey:
Meal time can certainly be a stressful time for households, particularly if you’re rushed, or have more than one child to look after. Our 2020 survey revealed that almost one in three (29%) parents originally intended to make all of their baby’s food from scratch themselves, while a similar amount (31%) admitted feeling guilty for feeding their child packaged baby food.
All parents want the best for their child, but even if you can’t prepare every single meal from scratch at home, you should be able to find some perfectly good and healthy alternatives on supermarket shelves. With nutritional information widely available, only 19% of survey respondents said they worry about their child not getting enough nutrients from baby foods. In addition, almost half (45%) said they’re satisfied that the quality of packaged baby food is generally good.
To ensure their baby gets only the best, 39% of parents surveyed said they taste test their baby’s food and 45% read the ingredients labels before buying. Finding the right brand for your child’s taste buds – and your budget – is the major challenge you face. With that in mind, we hope our customer ratings provide some helpful guidance.
This report was written by Canstar Blue’s home & lifestyle journalist, Tahnee-Jae Lopez-Vito. She’s an expert on household appliances, grooming products and all things grocery and shopping. In addition to translating our expert research into consumer-friendly ratings reports, Tahnee spends her time helping consumers make better-informed purchase decisions on all manner of consumer goods and services, while highlighting the best deals and anything you need to be aware of.
Picture credits: Natee K Jindakum/Shutterstock.com, AquaSketches/Shutterstock.com.
Canstar Blue surveyed 1,200 Australian adults across a range of categories to measure and track customer satisfaction, via ISO 26362 accredited research panels managed by Qualtrics. The outcomes reported are the results from customers within the survey group who have purchased baby food products from a supermarket (excluding formula) in the last 3 months – in this case, 493 people.
Brands must have received at least 30 responses to be included. Results are comparative and it should be noted that brands receiving three stars have still achieved a satisfaction measure of at least six out of 10. Not all brands available in the market have been compared in this survey. The ratings table is first sorted by star ratings and then by mean overall satisfaction. A rated brand may receive a ‘N/A’ (Not Applicable) rating if it does not receive the minimum number of responses for that criteria.
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