Sure, a supermarket-bought squeeze pouch of food can be convenient, but when one woman asked herself some questions about what might really be in those bags, the answer inspired her to found her own baby food brand from 100% vegetables (no fruit!). Olivia Bates teamed up with Lisa Wipfli and created Nourishing Bubs. Read their story below.
“I was shocked at the lack of fresh options for parents looking for pre-prepared solutions,” says Olivia Bates. Shopping for baby food at the supermarket, “everything was sold in shelf stable jars or pouches. While I could appreciate the convenience factor of these products, I couldn’t comprehend why everything, savoury dishes included, was sweetened with fruit.”
The accredited practising dietitian specialises in paediatric nutrition, and says the sight of all that packaged food made her think. Adults wouldn’t eat a pouch of beef that can sit on a shelf unrefrigerated for twelve months, the thinking went, so why are we feeding it to our babies? How it is possible for perishables like meat and cheese to become “unperishable”?
According to Olivia, squeezy pouches themselves are made from a flexible metal-plastic laminate designed to tolerate the high temperatures (more than 100°C) that are used to kill bad bacteria and any nasties which could cause spoilage of the food or sickness in babies. But the high heat also kills good bacteria and destroys many of the beneficial nutrients in the food itself. What you are left with is little more than a bag of kilojoules with little (or none) of the nutrients you would expect from the pure veg.
The convenience factor of these pouches, she knew, is high, but she also believed there was room in the market for a range of single-serve vegetables for time-poor parents introducing solids to their babies for the first time. Each of the 10 vegetable options including broccoli, beetroot, peas and sweet potato are made fresh and snap frozen to lock in the nutrients.
And to make this fresh, nutritious food accessible to parents, she developed the Solids Starter Pack – a tray of 10 single vegetables in 40 taste-size portions. Each Nourishing Bubs vegetable cube is made only from locally-grown Australian veggies, picked and peeled, before being cooked and pureed into a smooth consistency, then snap frozen to lock in the nutrients
“Eating habits are developed through a learning process,” says Olivia. “Like any learned behaviour, changing eating habits as an adult is significantly harder, as the repeated action throughout childhood hardwires those behaviours into place. So, laying down positive healthy eating habits from a young age is important.”
Notably, there’s no fruit in any of the offerings. Olivia says she was at a loss to understand why each supermarket squeezy pouch option – savoury included – contained added fruits when sugar is an obvious concern. There’s also an importance, she explains, to introduce foods to your bub one at a time to be able to best assess allergies or adverse reactions. This simply wasn’t available in any baby food aisle.
She found a supporter in Lisa Wipfli, mother of two and wife of radio personality, Michael ‘Wippa’ Wipfli. Lisa loved the product so much that she had to be part of the business.
“As a time poor mother of two young boys, I know the struggle of staying on top of everything,”Lisa says. “That’s why when I met Olivia, and she told me about her business Nourishing Bubs I just had to part of it. There is a significant gap in the market for a product helping parents introduce solids to babies, and don’t I know it! I would have benefited greatly from Nourishing Bubs when I was introducing solids to both my boys, Ted and Jack.
Introducing solids is an overwhelming process for first time mothers, and if you are a mother of more than one child, then you definitely don’t have the time to cook a toddler meal as well as peeling, steaming and pureeing vegetables for your baby.”
This information was brought to you by Nourishing Bubs, available at Parisi’s Rose Bay and online.