7 Baby Food Brands Put to the Test By Moms' Tastebuds

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baby food taste testIt's obviously important for your baby to like and eat those mushy and colorful solid foods you feed her for the first time. But it's even more important that YOU like them. Your baby has never tasted food before. Only you know if a baby food fruit or vegetable actually tastes like a real peach or carrot and not some artificial representation with an icky aftertaste. Trust us, a lot of the baby food on the shelves tastes this way -- and that's no way to set the stage for a lifetime of healthy eating habits. The moms at The Stir felt a baby food taste test done by grown-ups was long overdue and we recently took the gastric plunge. Trust us when we say DO NOT buy another jar or package of baby food again until you read our surprising -- and at times unpalatable -- results. Your baby will thank you -- and us.

We coerced invited several non-moms to join us for our baby food lunch as well. We actually gulped down spoonfuls of fruits and veggies from 7 popular baby food brands and rated each one for overall taste and texture.

Our taste test focused exclusively on Stage 1 or 2 foods, those highly pureed fruits and vegetables that moms feed babies starting at around 4 months and up who haven't learned how to chew yet. You can find all of these brands in stores or online: 3 are readily found in the grocery aisle while 4 are specialty brands that are becoming more popular recently. We tried our best to compare peaches to peaches, but not all brands offer the exact same thing, so the match wasn't always exact.

The fruit contenders were:

Beech Nut Peaches

Earth's Best Banana Mango

Gerber Peaches

Ella's Kitchen Strawberries 'n' Apples

Plum Organics Mangoes

Sprout Roasted Pears

HappyBaby Pears

 

The vegetable contenders were:

Beech Nut Squash

Earth's Best Squash

Gerber Sweet Potatoes

Ella's Kitchen Butternut Squash, Carrots, Apples & Prunes

Plum Organics Sweet Potato, Corn & Apple

Sprout Baked Sweet Potatoes & White Bean

HappyBaby Sweet Potato & Apricot

We won't waste your time on the losers. Suffice it to say if they aren't on our list, they didn't make our cut, especially with comments like: "really lacking any flavor," "starts out bland and then tastes metallic," "awful! bitter!," "bad aftertaste," "I got sick," "tastes chemical and artificial," and "OMG this is yuck. I fed this to my baby all the time and she seemed to like it. I'm a bad mom."

Here are our picks for the top 3 tastiest baby foods in each category:

Fruit:

Winner! 1. HappyBaby Pears -- $1.39 for 3.5 oz.

Six of our 11 testers gave this brand the top score, saying it tasted closest to the real thing, just like "pear flavored applesauce." Several said it was good enough to use in adult preparations: "This is actually yummy, I wouldn't have thought it was baby food if it was served to me as a garnish on a dessert plate."

2. Ella's Kitchen Strawberries 'n' Apples -- $1.79 for 3.5 oz.

Rated consistently high, taste-testers loved the taste but felt the texture was a little too thin to feel substantial in a baby's tummy. "Great strawberry flavor, just a bit tart, but in a good way," "a little sweet for real fruit," and "I could see it in a reduction over vanilla ice cream."

3. Earth's Best Banana Mango -- $1.99 for 4 oz.

This brand fell into the middle-high range among testers. It not only tasted like banana and mango should, but they also liked the creamy, substantial texture -- one even compared it to a "smoothie" while another said they'd consider adding a dash of it to an adult smoothie.

 

Vegetable:

Winner! 1. Ella's Butternut, Carrot, Apple & Prunes -- $1.79 for 3.5 oz.

Sweet fruit makes even the blandest vegetable taste better, which may be one reason this and our second-place winner beat out brands with only single-vegetable options. One taster said "YUM!," they would use it as a reduction over meat, "surprisingly good, a wee bit tart," and one tester liked the taste but thought it was a little too "thick" to deserve top honors.

2. Plum Organics Sweet Potato, Corn & Apple -- $1.49 for 4.22 oz.

The apple infusion gave this puree a boost over the straight sweet potatoes and squash. It was rated in the top three by all testers, except for two who found the texture a little thick and felt the combination of ingredients tasted "weird."

3. Earth's Best Squash -- $1.99 for 4 oz.

Testers like the flavor, though some noted an aftertaste. But the biggest complaint was the watery texture. "Sweeter than I expected but not in a bad way," "tastes like what it is," and "okay but a little weird."

Bottom line: You get what you pay for with baby food, too! The organic, specialty, multi-ingredient varieties cost only a little more than the typical grocery store brands, but far exceed them in taste and are well worth the extra money if you can afford it.

Do you taste baby food before giving it to your baby? Would you still feed a food that tastes bad to you to your child?


milestones, solid food

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Melis... Melissa042807

I didn't taste it, but after a baby shower game years ago where we had to smell unmarked jars of baby food and try to identify them I swore I would never feed my kids jarred baby food meat. That stuff smells like dog food. I sure wouldn't eat it! I'm one of those moms who made my own baby food. Well, I made the veggies and the meats. We bought the fruits. Mostly Earth's Best brand. 

ManyM... ManyMoose

Thats why I make my own baby food. I cant bring myself to eat the jarred baby food so I cant bring myself to feed my baby it either!

fave82 fave82

Gerber beef and vegetables smells EXACTLY like Campbells vegetable beef soup, yum! ... but then again, you guys probably make your own soup too.....lmao

kebrowni kebrowni

Yes to the first question, no to the second. I've tried all the pouched brands that are shown in the picture above and my son refuses ALL OF THEM. He was exclusively breastfed for 6 months and now at 8 months, he'll only eat whatever I'm eating. Chicken and dumplings, mashed potatoes and gravy, rice, little bits and pieces of various vegetables. I cut it up pretty small and he'll take it by the spoonful, but he turns away from any of the mush I try to give him.

jayde... jaydensmom1726

im lucky my kid ate whatever was in front of him when he was on baby food except prunes and pears,wasnt happy about bannas but would eat them

Anne4222 Anne4222

Campbell's soup? Really? Have you not read about the BPA in all canned products? Great stuff huh? That's why every other person you meet has cancer. Stop being lazy, buy a Beaba baby cook and make your own. You could freeze for up to 3 months!!

EvaSa... EvaSamuel

The pouches are definitely easy when you're on the go.  My daughter likes all of the Ella's brand foods, many of the combinations I made myself in the Beaba.  The bonus with the pouches is the convenience.  It's also all organic which is nice because it's difficult to find organic berries and other produce in the middle of winter.  For my son, we like Santa Cruz brand applesauces.  They have apricot, strawberry, and tropical fruit, all organic and easy to find.  

BriLee BriLee

I don't do baby foods. I do baby led weaning. I EBF for six months and introduce meals with the family. My first took a few weeks to catch on and my second knew exactly what to do from the start. Never had to buy jars or stew and purée my own fruits and veggies. Raw broccoli is a big hit in our house as a first food. Full of vitamins and iron plus it comes with its own neat little handle making it easy for them to feed themselves. Love it! We have lots of fun during meals.



I do understand jars, if you are going the purée route. It's easy to keep and take places. The only thing I really don't understand is jarred bananas? Taking a fork to a banana is just as quick as opening a jar and much less expensive, oh and not brown. Haha! Making your own baby food is easy and would be the way I'd go if I didn't do BLW. Call me lazy but I like making one healthy meal for my family and they enjoy eating real foods.

Eques... EquestrianMom

We did a steam and puree method for all our baby food, my son loved real food, refused the canned stuff. Oh, and I ate his rice cereal, he'd only eat "real" oatmeal, which I boiled to a complete mush texture, and he liked it with bananas mushed into it! LOL! mashed steamed sweet potatoes and pureed steamed brocoli were his favs as a baby.

Torto... Tortoise77

Nope, not my child. He isnt eating that processed tasteless nasty ass food! Everything he eats is homemade. I hate the taste and smell of formula and baby food too. Yuck! no wonder some babies turn out to be picky eaters. Their moms have been feeding them shit all along.

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