A UK manufacturer has solved the age-old problem faced by Muslim mums - what to feed their newborns - by developing a range of Halal babyfood.

Mumtaz Foods has seized on what it described as a gap in the Muslim food market with a ten-strong range of sweet and savoury dishes to provide parents with greater options for infants at meal times.

The ambient range includes dishes for babies aged four months and seven months. Recipes include garden vegetables, spring vegetables & chicken, wholemeal rice & chicken, mango & banana and peach & strawberry.

According to the com­pany, the range has been welcomed by some of the UK's leading paediatricians, who are keen to see Muslim babies eating meat-based products during the first few months of weaning onto solids.

Muslim mums tend to delay the switch from milk to solids because of the lack of Halal meat dishes avail­able for young babies.

Director Rab Nawaz said: "There has been a dilemma among Muslim mums for some time because they simply haven't had access to ready-prepared Halal babyfood. As a result, they tend to delay weaning their babies onto solids from the recommended six months to nearer 12 months, which can result in the babies missing out on essential proteins and iron in that crucial development stage.

"The Mumtaz babyfood range means that every Muslim parent in the UK will now have that choice, so their baby's diet can be varied and interesting but also convenient for them."

Halal meat differs from conventional products in the way it is slaughtered, but Nawaz added that while the products' main appeal would be among Muslims, they were suitable for all children. "The additional benefit to the retailer is that any baby can have the Mumtaz range," he said.

"Its Halal credentials are significant only to Muslims, but it would cater for all babies, regardless of their parents' religious preferences."

The Mumtaz range will be stocked in about 3,000 independent retailers from this month and is also expected to gain listings in some of the major ­multiples within the next couple of weeks.