While early stage infant nutrition is firmly focused on the developmental needs of babies, it is evident that parents’ interests shift as their children grow and that adult themes become increasingly important in post-weaning categories.
Prepared foods categories are leading growth in infant nutrition NPD with segmentation continuing. While launches are rapidly growing across all sub-categories, baby snacks are leading the charge, with NPD rising at a CAGR of 33% over 2015-2019, while fruit, desserts and yogurts introductions grew at 21% CAGR. These figures compare with 13% average annual growth in baby formula/milks.
Activity in baby snacks, desserts and meals is firmly centered on natural and unadulterated formulations. “Additive free claims appeared on around two-thirds of new products in these areas of infant nutrition in 2019,” said Lu Ann Williams, Director of Innovation at Innova Market Insights, “While around one half also carried organic claims.” In line with adult interests, there is also growing attention being paid to “super” ingredients from the plant world, protein and fiber claims, and “free from” positionings. No added sugar claims are also growing and, although they remain relatively niche, ethical claims are gaining ground rapidly. Meanwhile, in baby snacks – which are generally aimed at older infants and toddlers – there is even 12% penetration for vegan claims, compared with 4% in infant nutrition as a whole.
In contrast, early-stage nutrition is firmly focused on the science of nutrition, with ongoing development in the push towards ever closer mimicry of breast milk. At the same time, personalization is important so parents can choose milk formulas suited to their babies’ specific needs.