Not all food pouches are born equal

Not all food pouches are born equal

How Simply Goodness differs to alternatives

The Evolution of Baby Food

Appreciating the time challenges today's parents face, convenience have been prioritised for baby and toddler food manufacturing. Historically, parents cooked their own food from scratch. Then came jars - shelf stable, long shelf life, ready to eat meals, easy to access and prepare. Nowadays, we see the popularity of the pouches taking over our supermarket shelves.

Whilst Simply Goodness food are also packed in pouches, our design philosophy is quite different - in short, we prioritise safety, transparency, and multi-facade, long term development - not all pouches are born equal.

  

The Packaging

Store bought baby food were historically packaged in glass jars, with the ability to remain shelf stable with long shelf life being a key benefit. However, jars have caused much angst among parents with historical cases of broken glasses through accidents in manufacturing, transport or storage. Jars have since largely been replaced by pouches.

Currently, there are two main pouch offerings: The most popular, being the squeeze and suck pouches for on-the-go instant feeds, and the meals in pouches.

Pouches have also had their fair share of food safety concerns. The popular squeeze and suck pouches brought a new level of convenience for parents, allowing on-the-go, mess free self-feeding, simply by twisting the lid off. However, this sacrificed a level of control for parents to check and inspect the contents before the children put the nozzles straight into their mouths. Over the years, there have been cases of children consuming mouldy or contaminated food, due to tiny breakages in the pouches, exposing the food to air and spoiling the food - catching parents unaware.

 At Simply Goodness, we refrained from the use of glass, using the meal in a pouch approach. All our pouches have a transparent window, as well as a transparent bottom, for simple inspection of the food. Furthermore, as our products are kept frozen, eliminating the risk of microbe growth and food spoilage in the event of breakages. We designed our packaging for your peace of mind.

There are other design reasons for using the meal in a pouch approach, discussed in the 'The Feeding' section below.

Another safety concern regarding pouches relate to the use of plastic, the fear of hazardous chemicals leeching into the food. Bisphenol A (BPA), historically added to plastic to create polycarbonate plastic, including food packaging, once inside the body, "mimics the action of the hormone oestrogen and disrupts the endocrine system - the glands that produce hormones regulating, among other things, metabolism, growth, sexual function and sleep."1 We understand parents' concern, we are proud to say all Simply Goodness pouches are BPA-free and are internationally recognised US Food and Drugs Administration approved. More international researches and results on BPA can be found on the FSANZ (Australia and New Zealand Food Standards) website.

From an environmental perspective, we have made conscious design decisions to:

  • Eliminate unnecessary plastic lids and spouts.
  • Eliminate excess packaging and external wraps.
  • Eliminate additional processing of a foil layer, mainly used for aesthetic reasons.

We acknowledge our responsibility to the environment, and will continue to explore and work towards more environmentally friendly options.

  

The Cooking

We have explained the careful consideration and dedication that have gone into the actual packaging. Let's explore the content itself - the food.

The pouches on supermarket shelves are usually cooked using Ultra High Temperature (known as UHT in the industry) processing, ensuring the food is shelf stable at ambient temperature for an extended period of time, a benefit to both the consumers and the manufacturers.

Simply Goodness uses simple cooking method - like you would at home. We put in a lot of care in preparing and cooking our ingredients - cleaning and peeling, gently steaming, then quickly snap frozen. And just like the food you cook at home, real and simple food, our products do not rely on industrialised techniques to be shelf stable, our food simply need to be kept in the freezer to maintain its freshness. For your convenience, we have designed slim pouches for easy storage and quick thawing. Whilst we understand it takes an additional 1-2 minutes to prepare our food, we believe the end result is worthwhile - the smell of home cooked meals, the vibrant colours of luscious vegetables, the taste of real food.

Aside from the cooking method, it is important to pay attention to the actual ingredients used. Not all pouches are the same - Simply Goodness does not add any sweeteners - no added fruit juices to artificially sweeten vegetables and savoury meals - broccoli should not taste like apples. At Simply Goodness, we list all of our ingredients and its percentage components. We do not hide what your children consume.

  

The Feeding

Beyond the safety concerns of the packaging and the tastes and feel of the food from its cooking methods, perhaps the most important, and yet most neglected, is the actual eating experience. Observing the focus on convenience to combat time and social challenges of today's parents, it is easy to understand why this critical part of the eating experience have been sacrificed. However, parents should give this due consideration, and below are some factors to consider.

Firstly, let's talk about the action of eating. Put food in the mouth and chew. Simple? Not quite. The finer details -  the method, action, utensil, texture - are all important as part of an education experience for the children.

In a parents.com article, a Master of Science and registered dietitian noted that suck-pouches does not promote healthy development of feeding skills, leading to trouble at the lumpy and finger food stage.2 In an article by The New York Times, a member of Britain's national steering group for children feeding disorders stresses the importance of "having a spoon, placing food on the tongue from a spoon, moving it around the mouth, moving it to the back and swallowing it". In the same article, a speech-language pathologist and feeding specialist notes prolonged use of pouches may interfere with speech development3. Furthermore, in the Huffington Post, a paediatrician notes "children develop fine motor skills when they pick up their food and play with it".4

There is overwhelming volume of material written on this topic, and we encourage all parents to evaluate their feeding habits:

Secondly, the importance of seeing, smelling and tasting. We have all seen viral videos where children cannot recognise raw fruits and vegetables and associate them with their processed equivalent (eg. potato and chips). Broccoli should be learnt to be green, and taste of freshness, with a surprising buttery creaminess. Beetroot is red (and very messy!), and has an earthy, savoury but sweet taste. Familiarity with taste of individual food items will help children grow to appreciate and enjoy them, avoiding potential fussy eaters later in life.

Thirdly, and perhaps the least considered, is the importance of the eating culture, resulting from our on-the-go lifestyles. Our local, independent fussy eating expert, Marie-France Laval stressed the importance of, and have witnessed the benefits of, a good eating culture for children and families. Food is more than nutrition, mealtimes provide happy environments for children to grow into, associating food with happiness and family. For more about Marie, a dietitian-nutritionist and counsellor, and her mission to help families and kids find pleasure, confidence and mindfulness in eating, please visit Fussy Eater Solutions website.

 

For You and Your Family

At Simply Goodness, we appreciate your time struggles, but we do not compromise with what we offer your children. We take care of the cleaning, peeling, chopping, steaming, packing and freezing, and let you enjoy the process of feeding real food to your children.

We do not take away the smell, the look and taste of real food, like you would cook at home.  We do not take away the opportunity for a family dinner eaten together at your dining table. We do not take away your children's opportunity to learn to use a spoon, feed and chew all on their own. We do not take away your children's opportunity to learn the look and taste of different fruits and vegetables. We make it simple to nourish your children from the inside out.

 

References:

1 The Guardian 2018, Are we poisoning our children with plastic?, accessed 31-Aug-2019, <https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/feb/19/are-we-poisoning-our-children-with-plastic>.

2 Parents.com, The Downsides of Baby Food Pouches (And How to Use Them Right), accessed 31-Aug-2019, <https://www.parents.com/recipes/scoop-on-food/the-downsides-of-baby-food-pouches-and-how-to-use-them-right/>.

3 The New York Times 2018, Rethinking Baby Food Pouches, accessed 31-Aug-2019, <https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/19/well/rethinking-baby-food-pouches.html>.

4 HuffPost 2016, Why I Wouldn't Recommend Baby Food Pouches, accessed 31-Aug-2019, <https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/dr-dina-kulik/danger-baby-food-pouches-_b_7122852.html>.