Eat Fussy is the brainchild of Annabel Karmel, food consultant, chef and author of children's food and nutrition books, who is on a crusade to improve the way Britons feed their children.
She has sourced ingredients from UK farms - all meat and chicken carries the Red Tractor logo - and promises they taste as good as home-made. The products are not organic but have almost non-existent levels of pesticide residue. Steam fresh cooking is used to preserve vitamins and flavours and keep the food bacteria-free.
"In this time-starved age where we don't always have time to cook from scratch, it is essential that there are balanced options that kids will love and mums can prepare easily," said Karmel.
The six initial varieties are rolling out now in Sainsbury's stores and retail for £2.29. They comprise: Cheeky Chicken & Potato Pie, Scrummy Chicken Dumplings with Rice, Yummy Chicken Curry, Beef Cottage Pie, Mummy's Favourite Salmon and Cod Fish Pie, and Hidden Vegetable Pasta. The launch will be backed by a PR and promotional campaign in trade and consumer press, along with sampling activity and a website.
Karmel said many of the three million parents of one to four-year-olds were confused about what to feed their children. She added that there was a lack of trusted brands available, even though the toddler meal market was worth about £200m a year [Hauck Incepta Market Intelligence, October 2006].
"This range creates a new niche in the sector," said Karmel. "With shocking statistics in the UK, such as more than 90% of junk food being bought for children by their parents [Mintel TGI], Eat Fussy couldn't come at a better time."
Karmel has previously worked with Marks & Spencer as a consultant for its Everyday Eating range of chilled food for children, while her books include the New Complete Baby and Toddler Meal Planner.