The ingredients inside a jar of baby food can sometimes seem as mysterious as those in a can of dog food. While scanning the shelf for something good for your little one, you may go off empty label promises rather than what's really lurking inside, which is often sugary juices, stabilizers and preservatives.
Enter Little Spoon, a new subscription service launched on Wednesday, that allows parents the opportunity to provide their child with wholesome organic food. Little Spoon applies the same food technology utilized by the juice industry: high-pressure processing, which, according to them, ruptures the cell walls of any bacteria in the food, which in turn destroys the bacteria.
Unlike heat treatment, HPP does not affect the food on a molecular level, which means nutritional value, vitamins, flavor, taste and color remain unchanged.
According to Little Spoon co-founder and CMO Lisa Barnett, the biggest problem with current baby food is that it's old. "It has been sitting on the shelf longer than your baby has been alive in this world," Barnett said in an email. "The reason for this is because the store-bought baby food brands — even the organic ones — have been heat pasteurized, a process that kills all the fresh and nutritious properties of the baby food and leaves you with a shelf-stable, sugary product."
Making matters worse, according to Michelle Muller, co-founder and chief mom, "the baby food on the shelf generally has a ton of additives and stabilizers, which are, you guessed it, very bad for any human — let alone a tiny baby — to ingest."
Another important factor for the company was taste, wanting to ensure that from a young age children were given the opportunity to develop a palate for a variety of foods. The BBC reported in 2014 that a University of Leeds study found that it's possible for kids to learn to eat new vegetables so long as the foods are introduced often before age 2. To that end, the company currently offers 10 blends including carrot, apple, ginger and pea, pear, mint, with more flavors expected soon.
"We firmly believe in the power of offering a varied diet early on," Barnett explained. "Exposure to a variety of tastes and smells helps train a child's palate and shapes their taste preferences for life. Our co-founder Michelle witnessed this first-hand with her three boys. From the start, she made a point of exposing them to a diverse array of flavors. Now in grade school, they enjoy snacking on bok choy and sprinkling their tacos with hemp hearts."
Beginning Wednesday, parents will have the option purchase one of three subscription models: one meal a day for $4.99 per meal, two meals a day for $4.49 per meal or three meals a day for $3.99 per meal.
Muller's bottom line is simple: "Baby food shouldn't be surprisingly tasty and fresh. It should be the expectation that baby food is so tasty and good for you that anyone, not just babies, would want to eat it. Would you eat sugary, old food? Would you slurp most your meals out of a pouch? No. So why should your baby? This is what Little Spoon is setting out to change."