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How to Start your Own Baby Food Business Part #6: Manufacturing Vs. Catering

Handmade Baby Food vs. Commercially Produced, Store Bought Baby Food

Food from your baby food catering business will be differentiated from commercial, factory produced baby food in the following ways:

People & Production

Your baby food is made-by-hand by individuals who are committed to the quality of the baby food. At least one certified chef is on duty at all times supervising the process and ensuring that ingredient and cooking standards are met. The food is made in a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen like the ones used by top chefs.

Commercial baby food is produced in mass in a factory or co-packing facility. More often than not, baby food is not the only food product produced in the facility. Typically baby food is made by workers that do not have culinary training and do not have a passion or commitment to high quality baby food.

Hand Selection of Ingredients

Each and every ingredient in your baby food, down to the smallest berry, is hand selected to ensure that it is of the highest quality and to make sure that it is completely ripe.

Commercial baby food is made from massive deliveries of bulk produce that arrive on loading docks. Food quickly passes by workers on conveyer beltsthere is little time for manual inspection.

Source & Quality

The majority of the ingredients in your baby food are locally grown. They are picked only when fully ripe and go from the field to our kitchen within a matter of days, sometimes hours.

Produce used to make commercial baby food comes from multiple sources and multiple countries. It is often picked before fully ripened, to withstand the long transport from the field to the factory. Sometimes produce becomes over-ripe or rotten as it sits on trucks, in warehouses, or on loading docks for days or weeks.

Organic

You use only 100% organic ingredients that are never stored near other non-organic ingredients or produced alongside non-organic foods.

Even foods that are made with organic ingredients can be contaminated with pesticides when they are transported or stored with or near non-organic ingredients or produced in a facility that also makes non-organic food products. Commercial baby food is often made in large factories or by co-packers that also produce non-organic foods.

Washing

All of produce used in the production of your baby food is individually washed or scrubbed by hand.

In commercial baby food factories, produce is either rinsed as it passes under a sprayer on a conveyer belt or it may be allowed to sit in a vat of water to be cleaned. Often the process involves cleaning agents or chemicals.

Preparation

All the produce used in the production of your baby food is peeled, cored, or diced by hand. This provides a second inspection of the ingredient before cooking.

Produce used to make commercial baby food is peeled, processed, and cut by machines in large batches. Seeds, stems, rotten spots, etc. can easily go over looked and may be included in the final product.

Cooking

The majority of your baby food made using produce that has been gently steamed to ensure that the vitamins and nutrients are not cooked out of the food. This process also helps the food to retain its natural color. Some foods are baked or roasted whole to ensure that the natural juices are retained.

Commercial baby food is boiled in large vats or cooked quickly in giant, super heated ovens. Both processes are designed to cook the food as quickly as possible so large amounts can be produced at once. The food must be cooked at high enough temperatures to be sterilized in order for it to sit in a warehouse or on a store shelf for long periods of time. Essential nutrients and natural colors are lost. Vitamins and color must be added back into the food. This is accomplished using either synthetic materials or fruit/vegetable concentrates or dyes. Some food dyes are made using ground insects.

Processing

Your baby food is pureed in small batches which are weighed and measured by hand. Each batch is checked and rechecked to ensure a smooth or creamy texture.

Commercial baby food is ground in large, industrial vats. Sometimes tons of food is processed at once.

Texture

You add only a small amount of distilled water to your foodjust enough to allow for a smooth puree. Because we add such a small amount of water, there is no need to add thickening agents.

Large amounts of water are added to commercial baby food to thin it out. This allows the company to get more baby food out of each pound of produce (water is cheap) thus increasing company profits while nutritionally cheating babies. Thickening agents, such as starch, are then added (starch is cheap too). Thickening agents also stabilize factory-made foods by keeping the complex mixtures of oils, water, acids, and solids well mixed.

Quality Control

At every point in the cooking and pureeing process the temperature of the food is checked and rechecked to ensure that the correct temperature and consistency is being met. Temperature is monitored during the cooking process to make certain that vital vitamins and minerals are not cooked out, and as food is cooled to avoid pathogen growth.

Most of the production is often monitored by computers rather than humans.

Packaging

Your baby food is packaged by a person, giving it one final quality check.

Commercial baby food is packaged by big machines that squirt food into jars or containers with no one overseeing the process.

Freshness, No preservatives

Your stores/kitchen/etc.make fresh baby food daily. You only make enough food to fulfill the needs of for the current week. Your baby food is sold or delivered to customers within 24 to 48 hours of being made. There is no need to add preservatives and no food is wasted.

Commercial baby food is made in mass. Tens of thousands of units of baby food are produced each day. Commercial baby food can sit in a warehouse or on a store shelf for up to 2 years. The companies must add chemical or natural preservatives to keep the food from degrading. Even frozen baby food in the grocery store can sit in the freezer for months before it is sold.