Baby foods have emerged as a complete or partial substitute for breast milk. They are essentially a soft food which can be easily consumed by infants and toddlers below two years of age. The baby food market is witnessing rapid growth, which is majorly attributable to upsurge in number of working women, who vouch for convenient and healthy substitutes to breast feed. Baby foods have to adhere to certain nutritional requirements which help boost mental and physical development of infants. Baby foods can resolve undernutrition in infants caused due to non-lactation and they generally come in three forms; liquid concentrate, powder and ready-to-feed. Baby food market can be further categorized into various segments on the basis of their health benefits and basic ingredients.
Generally, hypermarkets, supermarkets, small grocery retails, medical stores, health & beauty retailers are the key distribution channels serving the baby food industry. Of these, supermarkets are the most preferred distribution channel followed by health & beauty retailers.
Infant milk formula (IMF) is the largest growing category of the baby food market. IMF generally acts as a substitute for babies not drinking breast milk and they can be segmented into four types: Stand formula, toddler formula, follow-on formula and special formula. China has emerged as the front runner in the IMF market, supported by rapid e-commerce growth and rise in its disposable income.
Organic baby foods are also emerging as a healthy alternative for the niche consumer segment who are very particular about safety and are looking for nutritious alternatives to conventional baby foods. The industry is capitalizing on opportunities presented by organic baby food segment by offering novelty products with attractive packaging.
Increasing number of working women, growing parent concerns for nutrition and increasing disposable income are some of the major factors driving the growth of global baby food market. However, decline in birth rates in developed countries and milk intolerance may pose challenges to the market.
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