Are baby food delivery services worth it? We tried three to find out

Are baby food delivery services worth it? We tried three to find out

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According to a recent our site study, only 2 percent of families are using a baby-food service, but 22 percent are interested.

Count me in on that 22 percent! My husband and I have been enjoying our Blue Apron subscription for years, so when I started seeing ads for baby-food delivery services, I was intrigued.

We give our son, Desmond, some homemade food (mostly basics like mashed avocado, banana, and sweet potato) and a lot of store-bought jars and pouches (all organic and without added stuff like sugars and preservatives). As two working parents with demanding jobs, it's challenging to find time to come up with recipe ideas, let alone cook them. Delivery-service meals are more convenient than homemade food, and often fresher than store-bought – if you can afford them.

I tried three companies that deliver nationally; here's how each shook out.

Company: Little Spoon

I ordered: Two meals a day for two weeks (28 4-ounce meals) for $75.

Cost per meal: $2.68

The good: The blends that Little Spoon offers are a lot of fun! I was able to choose the flavors and I felt like I was ordering off the menu of a high-end juice bar. We got flavor combos like pea, tahini, green apple, thyme, avocado, ground chia, and pear (yum, right?!).

All the ingredients are fresh and organic, and Little Spoon explains the developmental benefits of each in the literature that accompanies your orders.

Worth considering: The meals are refrigerated and only last 14 days, so you have to use them up quickly. One thing to keep in mind is that 28 containers of food take up a lot of fridge space!

Desmond liked some blends better than others, and we quickly discovered that he was not a fan of anything with coconut oil in it (cue the dramatic gagging). He also struggled with the texture of some of the blends. In Little Spoon terms, "chunks" means that the food has been more "naturally" cooked without extreme heat, which I think is a good thing – but Desmond was used to smoother purees from store-bought brands.

In the end: Anyone who wants fresh baby food with trendy flavors and the convenience of having it delivered to their door will enjoy Little Spoon. It's more expensive than premade grocery-store baby food, but costs less than the other delivery services I tried. Just know that your child is probably not going to like all of it, so you might end up wasting some.

Company: Raised Real

I ordered: One meal a day, six days a week, for two weeks (12 meals) for $65.88.

Cost per meal: $5.49

The good: Raised Real is a little different from the other baby-food delivery companies, in that they send you the whole ingredients chopped up into small pieces – and you have the option to puree, mash, or serve as finger foods. We received our first order just as Desmond was starting finger foods, so we served them whole.

Raised Real has innovative and foodie-friendly flavor combinations, like carrot, apple, hemp seeds, turmeric, and sacha inchi oil. I loved that Desmond was getting to taste lots of different kinds of adventurous flavors. The ingredients are organic and sustainably sourced; and, similar to Little Spoon, Raised Real provides notes about their developmental benefits.

Finally, the meals are flash-frozen, so they last a long time in the freezer. After forcing the Little Spoon meals for two weeks to use them before they spoiled, I appreciated the flexibility to serve these whenever we wanted. All you have to do is steam the ingredients for 5 minutes.

Worth considering: You don't get to choose the flavors with this service. And a lot of the meals have very messy ingredients for finger foods, such as beets and quinoa, so I do wish you had a choice to avoid some of that messy stuff. Note, we usually got two meals out of each packet, so you could argue that the cost per meal is less than calculated above, but Desmond also ended up throwing a lot of it on the floor (the struggle is real).

In the end: If you have an aspiration to make your own baby food and make it interesting, but don't have the time to come up with recipes or shop for ingredients, Raised Real is a great option. The biggest barrier here is price – it's quite expensive compared to sourcing ingredients on your own.

Company: Nurture Life

I ordered: A meal plan with eight jars for one week for $45; Nurture Life offers a half-price discount for the first two orders.

Cost per meal: $5.63 (Each jar is 4.7 ounces; a little larger than most 4-ounce baby-food meals.)

The good: I specifically wanted to try this plan out because it includes meat options (the others reviewed here are plant-based). We had not given Desmond any pureed meats yet because shelf-stable meat creeped us out, and we hadn't gotten around to pureeing our own. This seemed like a fresh alternative for introducing him to meat.

Worth considering: The recipes are much simpler with this service. There are no fancy chia seeds or avocado oils here – they offer more basic combinations like cauliflower and spinach, or chicken and butternut squash.

Many of the store-bought baby foods we've tried so far include fruit, and unfortunately, Desmond has gotten used to that. He wasn't crazy about these more basic, less sweet flavors. He also was not a fan of pureed meat ... but who would be?!

The jars are refrigerated and must be consumed within seven days. A week goes by quickly, and Desmond didn't finish many of the meals, so I felt like a lot of the food was wasted.

In the end: Nurture Life focuses on quality and prioritizes organic and seasonal ingredients. This company also offers wholesome, well-rounded meals for children all the way up through the teen years. If you're looking for a straightforward way to introduce your baby to flavors without added fruit or trendy spices, this is a good option. And it's a service that will evolve with your child's needs, so you can stick with it for a long time.

Are delivery services worth it? It's up to you to decide. There's no doubt they are more expensive than making your own baby food or buying it from the grocery store. But your time is worth something, and using a service does make life with a baby a little bit easier (which is no small feat!).

Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.

Watch the video: i tried every meal kit so you dont have to canada edition (December 2022).

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