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Nutritional content of infant commercial weaning foods in the UK


Background and aims Health professionals are frequently asked to advise on aspects of complementary feeding. This study aimed to describe the types of commercial infant foods available in the UK and provide an overview of their taste, texture and nutritional content in terms of energy, protein, carbohydrates, fat, sugar, iron, sodium and calcium.

Method All infant foods produced by four main UK manufacturers and two more specialist suppliers were identified during October 2010–February 2011. Nutritional information for each product was collected from manufacturers’ websites, products in store and via direct email enquiry.

Results Of the 479 products identified in this study 364 (79%) were ready-made spoonable foods; 44% (201) were aimed at infants from 4 months, and 65% of these were sweet foods. The mean (SD) energy content of ready-made spoonable foods was 282 (59) kJ per 100 g, almost identical to breast milk (283(16) kJ per 100 g). Similar spoonable family foods were more nutrient dense than commercial foods. Commercial finger foods were more energy dense, but had very high sugar content.

Conclusions The UK infant food market mainly supplies sweet, soft, spoonable foods targeted from age 4 months. The majority of products had energy content similar to breast milk and would not serve the intended purpose of enhancing the nutrient density and diversity of taste and texture in infants’ diets.

  • Nutrition
  • Infant Feeding
  • Paediatric Practice

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    R Mark Beattie