Why does Taste Matter?

In January, frozen baby food manufacturer, Babylicious held a workshop for mums with babies under one year and asked them, does taste matter and, if so, why? The mums’ response was interesting as it was obvious that among all the many messages and advice they’d received about good nutrition, safe feeding and balanced meals, the importance of taste wasn’t coming through.

Babylicious believe children will eat healthily and have a positive attitude to food as they grow older only if they eat food that tastes like real food from the very first spoonful of solids that they put in their mouth around six months.

Research shows babies who eat a wide variety of different foods, with strong natural flavours and textures, from early on will eat a much broader and healthier diet later in life. It really helps to develop positive eating habits.

From their workshops Babylicious also found a lot of mums didn’t taste their baby’s food as they fed them, and if they did they were very surprised; many didn’t think the food they were giving their babies was very nice.

However, Babylicious were passionate that the food they created wasn’t just nice but also tasted like real food. “In this way, your baby will be developing its taste buds to respond positively to a wide variety of flavours, colours, odours and textures. Because in reality, a baby needs to train its taste buds just as they train all their other essential senses and skills as they grow like walking and speaking.”

Currently, not all food that is designed for babies tastes like real food as the only way to preserve the natural tastes, textures, odours and colours of food is to serve food when it’s freshly cooked or to quickly freeze freshly cooked meals. Freezing freshly cooked food preserves the meal in exactly the same state as when it comes out of the saucepan.

Babylicious’ workshops also found a lot of mums were buying ready-made food from the shelves on the baby aisle in the supermarket as the format of this food is very convenient, and because there are strong rules which control the manufacture of baby food, it is safe and nutritionally balanced.

But, as anything that is in a jar, a pouch or a plastic pot and that is sold on a shelf in the baby aisle outside of a fridge or freezer will have been cooked twice to pasteurise the food, it is food that has its flavour affected.

In order to make it safe, baby food sold in a jar, pouch or pot will be cooked in the normal way, then sealed in the packaging, then heated again to kill the germs. Sometimes the food will be sterilized up to 121°C to ensure it is absolutely safe.

“It is these very high second cook temperatures that completely change the taste, colour and texture of the food. Natural sugars in the recipe’s fruit and vegetables caramelise and become orangey/brown with a distinctive bitter flavour. Vitamins and minerals are also rapidly destroyed.”

During the Babylicious workshops mums compared ready-made baby food in jars, pots and pouches with freshly cooked frozen versions; they immediately recognised how this ‘boiling’ process had transformed the flavour of food.

Babylicious are currently working with UK supermarkets to make their frozen baby and kids meals available to parents, so they have more choice in those very important early years of a child’s eating.
“We are the first baby food company placing freezer units onto the baby food aisle, and we believe, supported by the science, this gives parents convenient AND tasty, yummy meals educating young taste buds for life.”

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