Demand for premium products particularly from working mums has helped the babyfood category grow faster than any other part of the take-home food market.

Sales have rocketed by 60% in value over the past four years. A mini baby boom between 2003 and 2008 and increasing demand for premium babyfood helped the category soar to £540m by the end of 2010, according to Mintel, which tipped the market to hit £761m by 2016.

Smaller players such as Ella's Kitchen and Organix had upped the ante with NPD and driven value, said senior food analyst Alex Beckett. "We're seeing more exotic recipes coming through at a higher price than more mainstream brands," he said, adding that own-label ranges such as Asda's Little Angels were poised to drive growth.

Sales of babyfood, drink and milk total £500m and make up 1% of the nation's food spend.