Stages of life ranges boost babyfoods

Sales of baby formula milk continue to grow, this year up 17.3% to £243m, but volume grew only 1.8%, with rising global milk prices and premiumisation both playing a part. But it was in wet babyfood that most activity occurred, centred around age-tiered products.

Cow & Gate's Baby Balance, last year's Top Launch, is a key example. Sales of the four-tiered offer, which ranges from smooth cereals for babies aged four months-plus, to more adventurous recipes for toddlers, rose 113.6% to £17m this year.

Plum and Ella's Kitchen have also focused on adding tiered sub-ranges this year. Plum jumped from 9th to 7th, while Ella's Kitchen moved into the top 10 for the first time.

Wet babyfood category leader Hipp grew 16% to £38.7m, while Heinz brands Globe Trotters and Cook at Home shot up the rankings, giving the producer four placings in the top 10 and helping the overall category grow 8.7% to £108.4m.

In fingerfoods, mums favour organic options, and Organix Goodies remains the clear leader among thriving stablemates with a 23.4% increase to £10.4m.

All of the top five brands increased in sales this year and the overall sector grew 13.9% to £30.2m.

In baby juice, only Hipp's offering grew sales, indicating mums are attracted to the perceived healthier organic label.

Top Launch - Ella's Kitchen Stage Two Babyfood 
Ella's Kitchen is a fast-growing brand started by former Nickelodeon man Paul Lindley. Now he's launched a Stage Two range of pouch meals for babies aged seven months plus. The Reading-based company's Stage One babyfood features the self-same handy pouches, and also offers pasta sauces. Stage Two, launched in September, includes recipes such as Fabulously Filling Fish Pie with Mash, and can be fed hot or cold.

View The Grocer's definitive Top Products 2008 survey