Despite the challenges parents face under difficult economic conditions and ever-growing constraints on   their   time, the quality of food they offer their young children is more important than ever. According to Consumer Reports, children may be a risk for exposure to toxins sometimes found in non- organic baby food because the process often used to condense fruits and vegetables potentially concentrates pesticide residues. Toddlers developing immune, central-nervous and hormonal systems may  be  particularly vulnerable to  damage from those toxins, the report noted.

In Feb. 2010, Heinz recalled thousands of bottles of baby food after discovering they could contain small pieces of plastic, while in Sept. 2010, Ella’s   Kitchen   announced it  was withdrawing some of its baby food pouches after concerns there was microbial spoiling in drinking straws. It’s no surprise then that parents are increasingly looking to organic products to nourish their children.

Organic baby food accounted for roughly a quarter of all new baby food product launches worldwide in 2009, according to a 2010 report from Canada’s Agri-Food   Trade    Service. In the U.S., high growth is expected for organic baby food products in the next five years with anticipated economy recovery and  rising educated population, according to the report, ‘The US Baby Food and Formula Market’, from marketresearch.com

In   the   global baby food and pediatric nutrition marketplace, which accounted for  USD  $11.8    billion and $26.3 billion in 2011 respectively, understanding demographic trends is key to gaining a competitive edge, according to Transparency Market Research.

The largest numbers of babies are currently being born in areas where consumer spending is growing the fastest, and where low consumption of pediatric nutrition combined with more women entering the workplace is creating demand for more breastfeeding alternatives. Further, ongoing research suggesting the need of balanced nutrition for healthy growth and development will likely continue the drive for more healthy food choices in the demographic.

In 2011, the Asia-Pacific regional market accounted for close to 40% of market revenue, North   America about 21 percent and Western Europe, 20 percent.  Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa took in about 20% of the market.

The Chinese market, with an increasing large middle  class willing to pay a premium for better quality products, is expected to show the highest growth  for  baby  foods  in 2010–2015, A strong birth rate  in  India  also makes it an attractive market for baby foods. More better educated Indian women are taking full time jobs, increasing family purchasing power for packaged baby food.

Transparency Market Research is estimating the Asia- Pacific, Latin America, Middle East and African markets will consolidate their positions over the next five or so years and  collectively account  for 60% of the global baby food and pediatric nutrition market in 2017.

Babies normally consume baby food and pediatric nutrition products from birth until  age  4,  while  roughly 90% of children aged 0 to 4 in 2010, about 550 million, lived in less developed regions of the world. Strong marketing and distribution, as well as packaging and product variation are seen as integral to gaining competitive advantage in this sector.

The United States Department of Agriculture estimated  that   2010,   sales of all organic products was roughly USD  $24.5  billion, a nearly 8% increase over the previous year.

Despite   Canada’s slow projected  birth   rate,   sales of  baby  food  are  projected to   grow,   reaching   nearly CAD$537  million  in  2015. Other  demographic changes and shifts in consumer behaviour will likely support the  demand  for  baby food. Continuing demand for organic food,  an  increasing number  of  new immigrants, and  a  reported  increase in the number of children with food allergies, will all impact sales growth, according to the Baby Food Global Pathfinder Report provided by Canada’s Agri-Food Trade Service.

Economic conditions in the European market  have been on  a downturn, but  sales of organic food in general have grown substantially over the past  decade. The largest EU markets  are   in   Germany, France,  the  UK  and  Italy, making up  more  than  70% of the EU’s total organic food sales, with continued growth projected to 2015.

In Germany, organic food sales are  expected to  grow as health-conscious parents spend  more  per  child.  One of Germany’s largest organic baby food producers, Hipp, had USD $720 million in turnover in  2011,  according to  spokeswoman Sandra Hohenlohe.

Against a steady decline in the U.K. birth rate over the past decade, since 2005, the baby food sector has shown steady growth and is expected to   be   worth   over   USD $1.16  billion  by  2015,  an 79%  increase. More women moving  to   the   workplace who  are  also  choosing  to have children at an older age, combined  with  an   overall social acceptance in the U.K. of   women   who   integrate motherhood  with  a  career, is helping demand for more convenient, higher-quality products  that  are  in  some cases sold at a premium. Consumers in the U.K. also tend  to  use  prepared  baby foods longer into a child’s life than  other  nations. Danone Baby Nutrition U.K. reported that 1% of British infants are still  on  baby  food  by  age.