ikeeps on growing The birthrate might be falling ­ it stands at 700,000 a year ­ but parental spending is increasing. The total market (food, drink, nappies, toiletries and feeding accessories) is worth £1.2bn and is growing at 2.3%, according to specialist infant market researcher Flackett, Stevens & Associates. Driving this growth is the need for more convenience, particularly from working mothers who have more cash to spend on the care of their offspring. Food, disposable nappies and wipes are the main beneficiaries. Formula milk, worth £165.2m, is up 7% with follow on milk putting on the greatest spurt (22.5%) due to increasing usage and the surge in popularity of ready to feed milk, particularly among working mothers. SMA is the leading brand (41.8% share), followed by Nutricia (39%) with Milupa up 2.8% to 8.2% and Cow & Gate down slightly to 30.8%. Heinz Farley's 16% share has risen nearly 8%. Own label has a minuscule 2.6% share. Total food, at £162m, is down slightly in value (1.2%), mainly due to heavy price cutting and promotions in the multiples that, nevertheless, have had a positive impact in pushing up volumes. Of the two, wet food is performing the best (up 2%) while dry food is down 7%. The most spectacular performer is organic food, which has risen from nowhere to take a 13% share of the food sector in three years. Brands dominate: the leader is Heinz Farley's with 53.5% share and 5% value growth, followed by Nutricia (20.6% share) whose Milupa brand has steadily lost share over the past three years to organics. Hipp and Organix are the leaders in organics. Nappies and training pants account for nearly half the total market (44.3%), with Procter & Gamble's Pampers the leading disposables brand with nearly 70% volume share, followed by Kimberly-Clark's Huggies nappies with 23.17% volume share [Information Resources]. K-C claims Huggies nappies has gained 19% volume brand share over the year October 98/October '99, largely at the expense of Pampers. Own label's share has remained steady at 16%, despite heavy price promotions in the multiples. Data: Flackett, Stevens & Associates MAT August '99, supplied by Heinz Farley's. {{FOCUS SPECIALS }}