The Pernicious Nature of Homemade Baby Food Revealed

baby food

A recent article in the NY Times caught my eye: “As Parents Make Their Own Baby Food, Industry Tries to Adapt“. We make almost all of our son’s food, with a few exceptions, and I thought it would be an interesting read. That’s how I learned that Beech-Nut thinks our choice is downright sinister!

Don’t believe me? Check out this direct quote from the article:

Jeff Boutelle, chief executive of Beech-Nut Nutrition, said, “When I got here a year and a half ago, the common sense was that the category was declining because birthrates were down.

“But I knew that birthrates had stabilized,” he added, “and babies are not getting any thinner.”

“Underlying our problem, there was a silent, pernicious trend going on that no one was really paying much attention to,” he said — mothers making their own food at home.

So…the issue is that parents are opting to not feed their babies processed food. This is an issue if you sell processed baby food, sure. But pernicious? That’s a strong word; in fact, according to it means:


1. causing insidious harm or ruin; ruinous; injurious; hurtful: pernicious teachings; a pernicious lie.

2. deadly; fatal: a pernicious disease.

So yes, technically that’s true; parents making their own baby food is a potentially fatal trend if you’re Beech-Nut. But the trend of parents wanting to make their kids healthy food is hardly something that should be associated with such a negative word. The tone of each of the quotes from the manufacturers have the same dismissive tone, as though they cannot possibly conceive of how parents could cook for their children. It’s as though kids are like little adults and might want to enjoy different kinds of foods!

There’s a convenience factor to pre-made food, but with modern kitchen tools it doesn’t take long to make your own food for your child. All you really need is a blender and containers; hardly akin to the complexity of “Mastering the Art of French Cooking”. Of course, in the interest of full disclosure, if you kid is like my kid, he or she will skip right over the puréed food and steal whole chunks from mommy’s plate, thus rendering most of the baby food debate moot early on. But all joking aside, most of my friends, even busy professionals, managed to find the few minutes it took to blend healthy foods for their kids. Maybe, if this trend of parents making their baby’s food is as insidious and ruinous as Beech-Nut claims, the company should change directions and start making immersion blenders instead.


Categories: Rants and Raves


4 replies

  1. The word ‘pernicious’ really jumped out for me as well – I mean, I get how there is an impact of making rather than buying, and how word of mouth and more and more easily accessible hardware for making it can have a ‘pernicious’ and growing effect – but the attitude in the statements is just nasty. These are your potential customers, and you are treating them like enemies or competitors …

    But on the good side it reveals the awful truth about how these people feel about us and our children … so for new parents it is a boon that there are so many things like the Ninja, Nutribullet and so on!

  2. I have a feeling that he just doesn’t know what the word “pernicious” means.

  3. I love the word ‘pernicious’ and how he used it. He managed to both insult parents (Moms particularly – and we can bring up stereotypes there) and show them how many parents are actually making foods for their babies. Because in the end, it’s mostly a lack of confidence that making baby food is possible (and healthy) that drives most parents to purchasing jarred baby foods!