In the UK, roughly 10% of grocery shopping is done online, while in the US, the average is about 7%. Canada lags behind in this field, with just 1.5-1.7% of food bought online. However, this figure is expected to grow considerably over the next decade, and an increasing number of food retailers are leaning into e-commerce. Although many online shoppers use supermarket chains to cover all their grocery needs, there is a rising number of niche suppliers looking to make a name in a specific area — one of the most successful being meal delivery kits. What may be more of a surprise, however, is that busy office workers aren’t the only target market: babies are, too. In response to demand from busy parents who want to purchase organic food for their little ones, one company, Fragola, has cornered the Toronto market.
The Demand For Organic Baby Food
With an increasing awareness of dietary choices on our health, high quality baby food is a real concern for new parents. Avoiding additives and prioritising high quality organic ingredients is top of many parents’ lists, and as such, there is an ever-increasing market for organic baby formulas that provide a natural wholesome diet to those who can’t be breastfed. This has left an opening for the next step: when children are at the weaning stage, parents want to introduce them to a variety of natural foods that support good health and provide them with all the nutrients they need to grow. Indeed, in a survey led by Field Agent, 40% of mothers with babies under the age of one said that they only use organic ingredients in the baby food they make at home for their children. This desire for wholesome, additive-free baby food can present a problem for busy working parents, however, and this is where companies like Fragola have spotted an opening.
A Full Baby Meal Plan
Organic baby food has, of course, been widely available for some time. Where Fragola differs is that it provides a full meal plan for young children in much the way that meal delivery kits aim to provide nutritional balance for busy adults. Through a careful blend of natural ingredients targeted towards optimum nutrition, Fragola’s aim is that parents will learn about their child’s individual tastes, making food preparation less stressful when meals are prepared at home. The company offers a weekly rotating menu, introducing children to over 70 new ingredients and allowing parents to select the level of pureeing best suited to their child. Deliveries work in a similar way to subscription box services, and Fragola now offers delivery across the country.
Ensuring Balanced Nutrition
Fragola, of course, isn’t the only company to have spotted the gap in the market. Indeed, in the US, one organic baby food startup aims to be the Blue Apron of baby food. Its CEO, Katie Thomson, designed her business model in line with the template adult meal subscription kits have developed, and targeted her company, Square Baby, at busy mothers. As a dietician and new mother, Thomson was disillusioned by the lack of meal plans for babies, despite the vast array of product choices. “If you have no companies giving you guidance on this and you just put a bunch of meals out, you’re not doing a good job,” she says, and aims to ensure that parents know that their child has got enough of the right kinds of foods each day in the right nutritional proportions. Square Baby is currently seeking funding for expansion, and promises to be a big hit in America.
Thomson has spotted a demand in the market that exists in the US and Canada alike. Nutritious, organic baby food is widely available, but unless parents are aware of the nutritional balance and the nutritional requirements of children over the course of a week, it is difficult for parents to know how much of which products to feed their children. It is likely that more companies like Fragola and Square Baby will spring up in response to this need, and it is possible that the food delivery market will see as many meal plans for babies as it does for their parents.
Food delivery services have seen a significant rise over recent years, but it turns out that adults aren’t the only market. With a growing interest in health and nutrition, many parents seek the best for their babies, and with high demands on their time, organic baby meal plan companies have a solid market to target.