chew on this

Looking to Squeeze Profits, Pouch Baby Food Brands Eye Adults on the Go

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 15, 2013 10:25 AM

Babies, toddlers, and kids love ‘em, so why shouldn’t adults? At least that’s what a few manufacturers of packets filled with pureed fruits and vegetables are thinking.

Happy Family, Buddy Fruits, and GoGo squeeZ “are experimenting with larger portion sizes, simpler designs and sophisticated flavors like cranberry or açaí,” the Wall Street Journal reports. Those aren’t flavors that the diaper set would likely be interested in, but for adults who spend a lot of time in their cars and on the go, squeezable food may have found itself a receptive marketplace. They are certainly popular with babies, even though the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry isn’t a big fan.

Plum Organics reports that “sales of pouch-style baby food more than doubled in the last three months, while baby food in jars and tubs was down 15%,” the Journal notes. Benjamin Punchard, senior global packaging analyst at Mintel, tells the paper that 40 percent of new baby food products or flavors introduced last year came in pouches, up from two percent in 2007.

And why not? Baby foods are a $1.5 billion industry and the pouches help extend the lifespan of the products. “It’s allowing us to age up,” said Maureen Putman, chief marketing officer for the Hain Celestial Group, maker of organic brand Earth’s Best, according to the Tennessean. “Where moms may have stopped baby food at 9 to 12 months, the pouches have really helped extend the shelf life of baby food. We see growth for a long time to come.”

That’s just in the baby food market. What about adults? The main barrier toward transferring that same popularity to adults is getting grown-ups to feel comfortable eating them in front of others. “Some people do it in their home. They'll do it at their desk. But they feel silly doing it in front of people," Jeannette Cornell, director of consumer and retailer insights for GoGo squeeZ, told the Journal.

The early adopters on the adult side have been serious athletes, who already consume plenty of gels and snacks this way. And maybe now that Warren Buffett has bought Heinz, a leader in squeezable condiment packaging, the possibilities are endless.

Last year, Happy Family brought its grown-up-focused Happy Squeeze line to market and GoGo squeeZ will introduce Fast Fruit, which will be marketed to adults, later this year. Plum, which was named to Forbes' annual ranking of America's Most Promising Companies, is still “looking at the concept, perhaps in a slightly different type of package,” the Journal notes.

With all of its success here in the States, Plum is expanding into the UK and has purchased the conveniently named pre-existing company Plum UK, which already made and distributed baby food throughout Great Britain. According to the San Francisco Business Journal, the addition is expected to bring in $120 million in sales. 

“From the beginning, both companies were inspired by love to improve the health of our little ones,” said Neil Grimmer, CEO and co-founder of Plum Organics, the Business Journal reports. “Like Plum Organics, Plum UK is a ‘David versus Goliath’ brand filled with passionate people that are inspired to use the power of business to make a difference in the world. We’re excited to continue this mission together.”

Would you suck on a bag full of pureed fruits and veggies? Let us know in the comments. 

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