Just when you think you have weaning all figured out someone goes and throws Christmas into the mix. And in our house, for Lumpy’s first Christmas, that meant not being in our house. It meant 10 days away from home visiting family around the country. She’s not quite on to eating what we eat – not whole of course, but puree’d left overs always go down well, but we also had a fair amount of planned meals out and other events where pre-prepped meals would make our lives and hers much easier. Add to that that the poor thing was suffering from a horrid cold and cough so bad that made her sick whenever she coughed or tried to eat anything even slightly solid.
In stepped HiPP Organic, who were kind enough to offer a selection of their new 4m and 7m Organic Pouch foods, in return of an open and honest review. So here we are.
I’m no earth mother, I’m a realist. The majority of the time, Lumpy has home made, home cooked food using the best ingredients I can afford, with no added anything. Organic full fat milk yoghurts, full fat butter & cheese, Gold top milk (she’s supposed to still be on a higher fat diet because she’s tall and skinny for an 11m old), etc. Once in a while, if we were going to be out all day, or going to somewhere with uncertain facilities for kids however, I am happy to give her pre-prepped pouch meals from 2 well known brands – Plum and Ella’s Kitchen, both marketed for their Organic-ness, home-from-home ethic, no added anything. I’d never even spotted the HiPP pouches in the store, just the jars, which, I am still adamant are hard work, heavy and take up too much space. Their only saving grace is that the food can be heated up.microwaved in its own container, unlike the foil-lined pouches. Still, pouches win.
HiPP’s range offers a very similar selection of recipes both in their 4m and 7m set. The 4m are very squishy, bland vegetable purees and fruit options with yoghurt or baby rice (something I object to completely for its total lack of nutritional value and outdated recommendations by health professionals. A friend of mine is a qualified Nutritional Therapist who happily points me to all the relevant information I could want for – Spinach – NOT that full of iron and also contains aminos that prevent what iron there is being absorbed anyway. FACT.). The 7m recipes are thicker but not really ‘lumpy’ or textured compared to what I’ve been feeding her but I suppose they need to squeeze through that little nozzle. They offer a more varied menu of meat, veg, pasta type blends and the majority of all of these went down very well. No better or worse than any other pouch food however, but Lumpy does eat virtually everything I give her, plus a fair amount of stuff she finds herself!
So, with the taste test passed, I turned to the back of the packet to compare notes. Here again, there was very little to distinguish the HiPP meals from Ella or Plum. The only things I really picked up on were :
- that HiPP do state the only non-organic ingredient is the water, not a dealbreaker.
- HiPP use Semi-Skimmed milk instead of Whole milk. Again, not a dealbreaker, but something that, were I simply comparing ingredients for an under 1year old, I would probably have been more inclined to go with a brand using the recommended Whole milk instead.
The last one, from purely a brand loyalty perspective (sorry, I’m sounding every inch the analytical marketeer that I am), is that HiPP only do pouches for the 4m+ and 7m+ weaning ages. After that, you’re back to jars again or pots, whereas Ella have a larger microwaveable tear-top pouch for 10m+ which allows for actual chunks of veg and meat, more consistent with what you’re probably feeding, combined with a more interesting and adventurous menu. Ideal for travelling. Plum also migrate to a pot solution for their older foods.
Other things to note :
- use of pouch food, for Lumpy at least, inevitably results in a bout of constipation and discomfort. I’m not sure why this should be and can’t necessarily put this down to the food itself, rather perhaps the combination of that and the reason for its use – being out somewhere possibly exciting and different and probably also meaning she’s not drunk as much as she should. Hard to tell.
- had the HiPP pouches been around when I was shopping for emergency weaning rations for Lumpy 6 months ago, I still don’t know that I would have bought them over the Ella’s Kitchen or Plum ranges, simply because I have been more exposed to both brands elsewhere as 100% Organic, wholesome, etc. IE I’ve been more exposed to these brands than HiPP.
HiPP provided me with this cool little infographic on weaning as well. some interesting points, particularly the baby rice one!