“We know that moms prefer fresh, natural homemade foods. However, in reality, this isn’t always what they give their babies all the time,”​ Toni Farinella, DSM segment lead, early life nutrition and nutrition improvement told attendees last week during part 1 of FoodNavigator-USA’s Food For Kids Summit​.

[Editor’s note: If you missed the first day of our Food For Kids Summit, you can still catch it on demand HERE​. Day 2 on Nov. 17 will focus on children’s snacks. Register HERE​.]

Pointing to results from DSM’s proprietary online survey of mothers conducted this spring, Farinella noted only around 40% of US moms say they always or mainly feed homemade baby food. The top reasons for choosing homemade baby food are that it is fresh (51%), ‘more natural’ (48%) or more convenient because their babies eat what the rest of the family eats, just in a different format and texture (41%), according to the survey.

However, as Farinella notes, despite mothers’ “good intentions”​ to favor homemade food, about 60% feed their children packaged baby food at least half the time, according to the survey. Of these, 16% always use packaged baby food and 24% use mostly packaged food, but sometimes serve homemade options.

Baby and toddler food manufacturers can further tip the scales in their favor by adding fortification, suggests the survey results.

“Adding fortification to food changes how open moms are to serving packaged foods,”​ Farinella explained, pointing to survey results that found 49% of moms who currently use packaged foods are open to using packaged baby snacks if they are fortified, 45% feel the same about fortified baby yogurt, 44% about packaged meals and 44% about pouch baby food.