Leading baby food brand Gerber announced the launch of its first plant-based baby food line, Plant-tastic. The line features a full range of organic plant-based toddler foods, from pouches to snacks to bowls. Created to offer a richer source of plant protein, the products are made with nutrient-dense beans, whole grains and veggies.
The new range features products such as the Banana Berry Veggie Smash Pouch, Lil’ Crunchies White Bean Hummus Toddler Snacks and the Mediterranean Medley Harvest Bowl. The products can be purchased online through Amazon, Walmart and other retailers.
“We hear from parents they want more plant-based protein options that align with their food and climate values,” said Gerber president and CEO Tarun Malkani, in a press release. “We are proud the full range of Plant-tastic products is certified carbon neutral, furthering our commitment to climate forward nutrition.”
According to research by FMI, 81 percent of households with children are now including plant-based protein in their meals. Additionally, the latest US Dietary Guidelines now recommend legumes as part of a healthy diet for children two and under. Gerber’s plant-based baby food can help parents follow these guidelines with developmentally appropriate recipes made with chickpeas, black beans and lentils.
The entire Plant-tastic line is also Certified Carbon Neutral by the Carbon Trust. Last year, Gerber became the first US baby food company to announce a commitment to carbon neutral foods through the Climate Forward Trust. It plans to become 100 percent carbon neutral by 2035 through practices like regenerative farming and renewable energy.
Gerber was acquired by food giant Nestlé in 2007 and is the latest of its brands to expand into the plant-based protein space. At a press event in London last year, Nestlé CEO Mark Schneider explained that the company is actively looking to “replace every animal protein out there” with plant-based alternatives.
So far, Nestlé has partially pursued that goal by acquiring Sweet Earth, a vegetarian brand known for its plant-based meat products like Awesome Burger, Benevolent Bacon and Mindful Chik’n. Nestlé has also released plant-based proteins, including eggs, shrimp and tuna, under its Garden Gourmet brand in Europe.
While Gerber appears to be one of the first established baby food brands to launch a plant-based line, there are several other competitors on the market that specialize in plant-based baby food. Jennifer Garner’s baby food brand Once Upon a Farm has gained notoriety for its vegan, organic, gluten-free, non-GMO and BPA-free products.
Other brands, including Earth’s Best, Pumpkin Tree Snacks, Sprout Organic Foods and Happy Family, also offer plant-based baby foods. Many brands in the category even offer direct-to-consumer (DTC) baby food delivery boxes, including Little Spoon, Yumi and UK-based Mamamade.
Gerber, along with these brands, are all competing in the larger global baby food market, which is projected to reach $853.9 million by 2026 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 15 percent. However, Report Linker predicts that the plant-based protein products market for infants will grow by $1.18 billion between 2022 and 2026 at a CAGR of 10.82 percent.