Cow & Gate is launching what it claims is the first range of cereals adapted to each stage of a baby's development.

Baby Balance Breakfast Cereals for babies and toddlers consists of 16 variants aimed at four different age groups.

They include smooth cereals in simple flavours, including apple and banana, for the youngest groups and more adventurous recipes containing ingredients such as apricots, coconut and crunchy pieces for toddlers.

"With balanced nutrition, tailored texture and taste for each stage of babies' development, the range reassures mothers that their babies are getting the best breakfast to start the day," said brand manager Anna Felcey.

Every bowl provides one third of the daily requirements of key vitamins and minerals, claims Cow & Gate. The cereal contains no added salt or sugar.

The move, which is part of a wider update of Cow & Gate's babyfood, follows the launch of Baby Balance Jars in January.

"The Baby Balance Jars have already injected energy, innovation and excitement into the babyfood market and we expect the cereals to transform it," said Felcey.

The newcomer will compete with products from Plum, which recently changed its name from Plum Baby, having made its first foray into the 'older' child territory with meals for babies of seven months and older. The organic company is set to introduce cereals for toddlers this year.

Healthier food offerings for infants boosted sales in the baby feeding market, which has grown 11.5% to £315m in the past year [Nielsen MAT 16 June 2007].

Cow & Gate will support the range, which hits the shelves at the end of this month, with a £5m marketing campaign, including advertising on TV and in parenting titles.

Alongside this, a website offering mothers advice on weaning has been set up.