When my daughter was born, I knew that I would feed her only organic foods. With so much to worry about in our environment, and organic foods becoming popular, it was a clear choice for me.
Recommend this product?
"Taking good care of your baby is all we do at Gerber. So we use the same care when choosing our organic growers. All our fruits, vegetables, meats and grains have been certified organically grown by the Oregon Tilth. They are the USDA accredited third party agency that carefully inspects the fields and processing facilities, test the soil and water, and review the procedures to make sure that the growers and handlers are meeting strict standards. It's simply another way we put extra effort into making Gerber Organic baby foods.
Puréed single-ingredient USDA certified organic fruits and vegetables have just the right consistency to help your baby learn to swallow solid food. Available in plastic 2-packs."
Gerber Organic 1st Foods
I purchased my Gerber organics at several retailers, including the grocery store, Babies R Us, Target, and Walmart. The 1st Foods come in 2-packs of rectangular plastic boxes. Each box is 2.5 oz, and has a lid as well as a foil seal under the lid. Each 2-pack ran around $1.50, but I often had a coupon (Babies R Us or Gerber), or sometimes places like Target would have the packs on sale).
There is the choice of fruits, including:
There are also vegetables:
- Sweet Peas
- Sweet Potatoes
My Thoughts... the Good
These baby food packs are very convenient. The plastic containers don't break, they are great to travel with. The square shape makes them easy to store and stack. The plastic lids pop right back on easily for storage. I find that the lids on glass jars just aren't that great!
The organic food concept is wonderful. We started with sweet potatoes, and my daughter loved them. Plenty of sweet potatoes! I wouldn't think of giving my daughter anything that is not organic, and my choices include Gerber and Earth's Best. I haven't found other brands of organic baby food (at least at my local retailers).
The foods are pretty decent. The ingredients are just fruit or veggies and sometimes some water. No added sugars or preservatives, etc. The colors of the food seem decent, as in healthy and not too processed. For example, the peas are not a sickly gray like some foods appear. The consistency is good. I always try the food my baby has, and I think the flavors are fairly good. Packaged foods always lose some of their freshness and vibrancy, but I think Gerber did pretty well with their organic 1st foods. (However, toss some organic sweet peas in a blender with some water - you've never seen any jarred food in a brighter green!)
I was surprised to find that prunes are difficult to find. Beech Nut also makes prunes in a small glass jar, but it always seems like the grocery store is out or isn't carrying it. My daughter would get stopped up and I had to find prunes quickly, and usually ended up finding the Gerber prunes first. Prunes aren't one of those things that are super easy to make on your own, especially in a hurry (finding organic dry prunes, boiling them, and blending them to the right consistency - I've done it, so I know!).
My Thoughts... the Bad
The first thing that I did not like about the Gerber first foods is the plastic packaging. I only really started learning about the dangers of plastics after my daughter was born. Plastics have been shown to leach into foods, and these plastic packs have the #7 recycle symbol on the bottom, which is one of the "bad" plastics. This kind of plastic can leach dangerous chemicals into food, like phtalates and Bisphenol A. I know much of the concern comes from heating the containers, but the plastic situation is a yes or no for me. I also read somewhere that the foods are packaged in the containers at a boiling hot temperature.
I also believe that a lot of parents who choose Organic foods are probably concerned about the environment. GLASS is the best material and most recyclable and safe material out there to use with food. But instead, there is a ridiculous amount of packaging produced. (Sure, it gets recycled - but why produce it in the first place? And production and recycling are wasteful as well). I imagine just about all parents that are concerned about the environment would choose organic foods, and I personally was shocked and found the plastic packaging to be so counter-intuitive! The funny thing is, this is the only brand to package their baby food in plastic. You can find organic Earth's Best baby foods in glass jars, as well as Beech Nut and the other general brands.
Plastic is great in that you do not have to worry about breaking glass jars. However, baby food was made in glass jars for decades, and I personally have not had a single incident with glass. It is also really easy to clean, and very reusable. Now that I make my own baby food, I just reuse the glass jars. (Yes, they freeze wonderfully). If you plan on making your own baby food, it is another thing to consider that you shouldn't reuse the plastic containers. I was able to stock up on glass jars enough to make my own food, which was great.. but not after recycling dozens upon dozens of plastic packs.
The foil seals on these packs drive me absolutely nuts. Imagine your little one in the high chair screaming hysterically. All you have to do is grab a pack of food and... struggle to get the seal off. It can be really hard to pull up any of the edge of the foil to even grab it. I would pick and pick at the edge in frustration, and if my daughter was screaming hard enough, I would try a different pack.
Then, even worse than struggling with the seal is when you pull up the corner, you usually get a bubble of food that pops on you and splatters you with baby food. Yuck.
The variety of these foods is not great. I realize the organic foods may just be taking off in popularity, but I would like to see more 1st Foods to choose from.
Gerber 1st Foods are a great, convenient idea. However, I would like to see the manufacturer switch the packaging to glass jars, and to add more variety to the line.
I stopped using the Gerber 1st Foods as soon as I finished the stash I had initially bought, which unfortunately consisted of dozens of containers. I had stocked up on baby food before I was truly aware of the dangers of plastics. I have bought their organics in Stage 2 and higher (in glass jars), but I could not feed this food to my baby in good conscience.
This is a tough rating for me. I wouldn't dare give my daughter anything in this plastic packaging, but the rest of the concept is good. 2 stars, because I would say this is an average organic food, minus a star for the multiple packaging issues.
Be sure to sign up on their website for coupons!
Earth's Best: http://www.earthsbest.com/
Born Free Bottles: http://www.newbornfree.com/ (Bisphenol-A-free and pthalate-free)
Evenflo bottles: http://www.evenflo.com/ (glass bottles)
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Amount Paid (US$): 1.50/2-pack