Canstar Blue’s 2019 baby food review has seen ALDI Mamia, Rafferty’s Garden, Nestle Cerelac, Heinz, Only Organic, Baby Mum-Mum, Coles and Bellamy’s rated on variety, ease of opening and dispending, packaging options, child enjoyment, 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. And let’s face it, they are!
To help take some of the stress of being a parent off your shoulders, Canstar Blue has again surveyed hundreds of mums and dads to find out which baby food brands are cleaning up at dinner time, before the parents do the actual cleaning up! In 2019, ALDI Mamia has again taken out the top spot for baby food with five stars on value for money, child enjoyment and overall satisfaction, plus a solid four-star review on variety, packaging options and ease of opening and dispensing. This is what we found in 2019.
Canstar Blue’s 2019 baby food review saw eight major brands compared and rated in the following order for overall customer satisfaction:
Rafferty’s Garden, Nestle Cerelac and Heinz all achieved four stars for overall satisfaction, while Only Organic, Baby Mum-Mum, Coles and Bellamy’s were left with three stars apiece. It seems that parents are hard to please when it comes to baby food, with limited five-star reviews across the board. While ALDI was rated best on overall satisfaction, Rafferty’s Garden was the only brand to get top marks on variety and ease of opening and dispensing. In addition, Heinz was the only brand to score five stars on packaging options, meaning there’s plenty to digest when it comes to choosing baby food. Read on to find out what each brand has on offer.
Taking out top spot, ‘Mamia’ is ALDI’s own brand of baby care products, including its disposable nappies, wipes and 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 contain no added salt or sugars, and are also free from added preservatives, colours and flavours, with 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 cost 89c each, making them one of the more affordable ranges available.
Additionally, ALDI also offers fruit and cereal bars, with each packet containing six bars and costing less than $2.50 at the checkout. Flavours include classics such as apple, pear and banana, strawberry, and apricot, with each flavour containing no artificial colours or preservatives. The ALDI Mamia range also includes mini rice cakes for those after a choice of snacks, with apple as well as beetroot and blueberry flavours both available for around $2 per packet.
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 smooth foods for babies aged 4+ months, 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. The range continues with cereals, snacks bars and custards, with smooth food products available for ages up to 12+ months. There’s a variety of both sweet and savoury flavours on offer.
Rafferty’s Garden also diversifies its range to include nutrient-focussed products, such as the Calci-fruits to help with bones, and the Happy Tummies range, which includes prebiotic fibre for healthy digestion. Its baby food is available for purchase at local supermarkets, as well as some chemists, baby stores and retailers such as Big W.
Being one of the world’s largest food and beverage companies, it’s no surprise that Nestle also offers a baby food range. Nestle 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 apple/peach, apple/mango and apple/banana, as well as just apple. These can be had for $1.80 each at the supermarket. Its NutriPuffs ($4.94 RRP) come in a star-shaped design to make meal time more interesting, and are also a resealable snack for when you’re 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.
Nestle Cerelac cereals range features rice for infants up to 6 months, oats for babies between 6 and 12 months and muesli with a few different flavour options. All varieties come in 200g packets and are said to contain probiotic, Bifidus BL, plus are rich in iron. On its website, you can also opt for a subscription service, so that you’ll never run out of packaged baby meals for your bub.
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.
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.
While it may not have the same range of products as some other brands, Baby Mum-Mum focusses on 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 free of common allergens, such as milk, peanuts, wheat, soy, tree nuts, soy, shellfish, fish, sesame and eggs, with no salt, sugar or tapioca added either. Baby Mum-Mum also offers the nutritional information of its products on its website, allowing parents to find the best fit for their kids.
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 banana custard, vanilla flavoured custard, pear/banana/mango, as well as apple/banana/blueberry just to name a few. As for savoury meals, it includes beef and veggies, chicken, rice and veggies, as well as an apple, carrot and sweet potato option.
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 breakfast cereals and porridges are available for $4.25, while its ready to serve pouches – which come in sweet and savoury varieties – are priced at less than $2.
For children aged between six and 12 months, Bellamy’s offers formulas, rusks, cereals, pouches and pastas. Bellamy’s Toothiepegs teething rusks cost $4.50 a packet, while its range of pasta includes pasta stars, macaroni and alphabets, costing less than $5 per 200g packet, with each one containing no added salt or sugar. It also offers a number of snack options for hungry mouths, which include packets of dried apples and pears in resealable packs, along with Organic Pinkies bars, all of which retail for under $4 per packet.
With so many options of baby food in the supermarket aisles, it becomes a little overwhelming on what to pick. Apart from finding out which brand of baby food parents love buying most for their young ones, our research also identified the following drivers of satisfaction:
Value for money was the greatest driver of parent satisfaction identified from the research, followed by child enjoyment, variety of flavours, opening & dispensing, and packaging options. So, for most parents, it seems that price is more important than whether or not their little one actually likes the food a brand serves up! 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 2019 survey revealed that almost two in five parents (37%) originally intended to make all of their baby’s food from scratch themselves, while the same number (37%) said they feel 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 18% of survey respondents said they worry about their child not getting enough nutrients from baby foods. In addition, almost half (47%) said they’re satisfied that the quality of packaged baby food is generally good.
To ensure their baby gets only the best, 42% of parents surveyed said they taste test their baby’s food and 50% read the ingredients labels before buying. Finding the right brand for your child’s tastebuds – 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 Content Lead, Megan Birot. She’s an expert on household appliances, health & beauty products, as well as all things grocery and shopping. When she’s not writing up our research-based ratings reports, Megan spends her time helping consumers make better purchase decisions, whether it’s at the supermarket, other retailers, or online, highlighting the best deals and flagging anything you need to be aware of.
Picture credits: Natee K Jindakum/shutterstock.com, AquaSketches/shutterstock.com
Canstar Blue surveyed 3,000 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, 572 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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