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Unboxed: 7 nutrient-dense baby foods for parents' peace of mind

Prepared foods make up around half of the global baby food market, and these ethical natural brands are securing organic certifications, avoiding unhealthy additives and making baby food overall better than ever before.

Parenting is hard enough without having to worry about finding healthy and appealing foods for babies and toddlers. And while some might argue that there’s nothing better than feeding kids a homemade meal, the chaotic pace of modern life means that more and more moms and dads are turning to the convenience of prepared baby foods.

According to Global Market Insights, the global market for baby food will have a projected value of $33 billion by 2025. A growing share of this market will undoubtedly be the prepared segment, which in 2018 represented a 44.6% of the overall industry. All baby foods are not created equal, however. Two 2019 studies from the World Health Organization Europe showed that a large proportion of baby foods contain inappropriately high levels of added sugar. At a time when consumers in general are clamoring for lower-sugar, higher-quality food products, parents who may once have been willing to sacrifice a little bit of nutrition in the name of convenience are demanding healthier baby food options with cleaner and more transparent labels.

One way that they can be confident in the quality of these foods from supply chain to finished product is by choosing brands with USDA Organic certification or ethically sourced ingredients. Not only are there many brands in the natural baby food category with organic certification, but a large number of them also offer a variety of additional benefits for growing bodies constantly on the move. The (almost all) organic brands featured in this gallery offer extras like hidden vegetables, low to no added sugar, low sodium, functional add-ins, and opportunities for babies and toddlers to develop a taste for textures, flavors, ingredients and spices that might go beyond what parents would typically prepare at home.

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