Eat up, baby – Food reviews for infants

(I put this review and video together last October for The M Word, an online magazine about pregnancy and birth.)

We’ve all eaten baby food, right? The problem is that it was a long time ago. Lucie Robson made The M Word team sit down with some little spoons and jars to taste some different baby foods, and advise mini connoisseurs on what is good for their tastebuds and bellies.

You can watch some of the best reactions of my reviewers and fellow The M Word reporters in this video. We hope you get a laugh out of it – we certainly did!

Round 1

Reviewing three brands of mushy baby food. All these baby foods contain all-natural ingredients. We gave them individual scores out of five.  

Organic Bubs Blueberry, Banana and Quinoa – $1.98 Photo: Lucie Robson

The verdict: One reporter “really likes it” and would “eat it at home.” It’s a bit sour, and you might be able to picture a baby screwing up their little face, but we have all seen the YouTube video that proves how cute it would be.

Rafferty’s Garden Blueberries, Banana and Apple (+ nothing else!) – $1.82 Photo: Lucie Robson

The verdict: “It smells vanilla-ry, like a dessert!” Seems more natural than the other purple food, although it has a tangy aftertaste. It seems to have real banana. A good choice.

Ella’s Kitchen Spinach, Apple and Swedes – $1.99 Photo: Lucie Robson

The verdict: Not good. “It was as bad as I expected from the smell, but keeps getting worse!” Some tasters complained of a bad aftertaste, and that the food looks dark greeny-brown, like something very unsavoury indeed. “I would never inflict this on my child!”

Conclusions: The food that mixed savoury and sweet elements was not at all delicious. But babies can’t live on sweet food alone, can they? Do they even like it? This study from May 2012 might suggest otherwise.

Round 2

Comparing two banana custards from Heinz: “Simply,” which contains no additives, and the regular “Smooth” banana custard. Reviewers are blindfolded.

Heinz Simply Custard with Banana, without additives ($1.89), and Heinz Smooth Custard with Banana ($1.27) Photo: Lucie Robson

Three out of four reviewers, some with flecks of custard on their jackets (sorry) thought that the “simply” custard was the one laced with additives and sugar. This contradicts the suggestion of the labelling. One reviewer suggested that the “smooth” custard had hints of pistachio. Both custards were deemed to be on the yummy side. One reviewer took the rest of the jar home to eat later!

So why the confusion? A look at the back of both packets shows almost identical ingredients listed. Water, full cream milk, sugar, cornflour, unsalted butter, banana (in almost identical proportions – 1.5% for theSimply, 1.7% for the Smooth), cream and natural flavours. So, mother, we’ll leave it to you to decide whether it’s worth making a switch.

The verdict: Reviewers can’t tell the difference on taste alone.

Round 3

Heinz Apple Custard versus Only Organic Apple Custard. Can blindfolded reporters tell the difference between fancy organic and (comparatively) el cheapo baby foods? 

Only Organic Apple Custard ($1.35) and Heinz Apple Custard ($1.27). Photo: Lucie Robson

By now my lovely guinea pigs were turning against me for shoving little spoons of mushy food into their mouths. But this test was enlightening: three out of four reviewers correctly identified the organic apple custard. These eaters much preferred the organic option – it was nicer, more creamy with a better texture, and did not “taste manufactured.” The unfortunate competition was labelled by one taste-tester as being “like toothpaste”. Delicious.

The verdict: Only Organic wins, and actually tastes “organic” too.

Round 4

Taste testing Farex Rice Cereal ($2.19), and Bellamy’s Organic Baby Rice ($3.77).  

Bellamy’s Organic Baby Rice ($3.77) and Farex Baby Rice Cereal ($2.19). Photo: Lucie Robson

Here we come to the most exciting part of our taste-testing. By “most exciting”, I mean “most unappetising”. We decided to blind taste-test two popular rice cereals: the standard Farex brand ($2.19), and the more upmarket Bellamy’s Organic baby rice ($3.77). I am not sure how different these two products can be, considering that the main ingredients are rice and water. And more water in a mug, the way that I prepared it for my subjects. There was no discernible difference in taste or texture (unfortunately) between these two cereals. Comments such as “it tastes like cardboard”, “I think cardboard would actually taste nicer”, “yuck yuck yuck” and “Lucie, did you feed us Clag glue by mistake?” speak volumes. Sorry, babies. It won’t be long until you have teeth.

The verdict: We’re sure it’s good for you, baby. But that’s all.

Our Conclusion:

From an M Word reporter: “I’m not a fan of baby food.”

By  Lucie Robson

Please note: All prices were obtained from a local Coles Supermarket and are indicative only.


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