Why is Organic Food Important for Babies and Toddlers? The organic food industry in India is shaping up to be stronger every passing year and organic foods for kids are getting more crucial for their well-being

By Priyanka Shetty Sridhar

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Parenting is one of the toughest jobs there is. Starting from what we feed them, to how we dress them, what values they imbibe from us, what we teach them and so on; every little thing we do has an impact on their growth and development. We are often making difficult choices for our little munchkins that essentially shape the people they grow up to be.

As a newborn nothing is better than breastmilk but as your baby grows and reaches five or six-seven months they should be eating a variety of pureed and mashed foods. The real stress begins after 6 months when parents start to introduce solid foods. The kind and quality of foods we choose in this crucial period in their formative years will undeniably impact not only the health and nourishment of your babies and toddlers but their overall growth and development and their perception of food (sometimes for their entire life).

Parents and young mothers have nutrition concerns for growth and development of babies with awareness of the dangers posed to us by consuming chemicals, artificial flavours and additives and especially with respect to children. We are increasingly learning about the negative side effects of these chemically laced products and therefore the demand for certified organic food and snacks will only continue to grow.

The Indian Organic Food Market

Be it a stay at home parent or working parents, everyone is concerned about the right nutrition of their kids and refuse to compromise anything for the sake of their well-being. As a result, it is needless to mention that the market of these delicate lives is pretty strong and there is huge potential for growth. The size of the baby food market in India is currently just around INR 47 billion and it is expected to reach INR 69 billion by 2022. The organic food market in India is growing rapidly and is expected to grow threefold by 2020.

Organic Origins

Organic food products are the best options for babies and toddlers in their formative years and beyond. There is a steady shift globally towards organic foods, especially for the little ones. Organic foods have stringent standards of organic food production, handling and processing. In comparison to natural, organically grown foods have strict regulations in areas like growing methods or the use of preservatives.

So, what does organic food promise you? Unlike natural and other eco-label claims, only organic produce offers government-backed assurance that products are grown and processed without the use of toxic chemicals, antibiotics and synthetic growth hormones.

  • Lower Chemical Exposure

Organic foods are grown without using hazardous chemical fertilizers, pesticides and other such harmful substances, unlike conventional foods. These environment-friendly foods are grown using natural methods and naturally-derived pesticides and are GMO-free too.

Why Does it Matter?

Chemical and synthetic pesticides and fertilizers are harmful, by definition, even for adults. So, it must not be surprising that they are harmful to babies and toddlers. When babies and toddlers consume such food, the chemicals get absorbed very easily in their still-developing digestive tract. These chemicals block the absorption of vital nutrients (that make our little ones grow into a strong, immune and healthy children and adults). So, babies and toddlers with consistent chemical exposure through foods develop poor immunity.

Children who are exposed regularly and consistently to conventional foods full of pesticides have a lower IQ and are at high risk of developing behavioural problems such as ADHD.

  • Rich in Nourishment and Better for Physical Health

By choosing organic foods for your little ones in the formative years, you are choosing health, nourishment, immunity and holistic development. This is because organic foods are richer in essential nutrients and provide better nourishment to babies and toddlers.

  • Better Taste and Exposure to Natural Flavour Profiles

Organic foods are available not just in the form of cereals, fruits and vegetables but also in the form of snacks, packed foods and so on. In either case, they taste better. That too, without using artificial preservatives and flavouring, unnecessary additives, taste enhancers, added sugars and food colouring, all of which are mindlessly thrown into processed foods to make it attractive to babies and children. These additives, synthetic flavours, added sugars, etc. are known to make children hyperactive apart from causing health complications. Organic foods enable us to train our little one's taste buds to like and appreciate natural flavours and taste. Learning to appreciate the natural taste and flavour profiles is one of the best things we can teach our little ones, a lesson that will help them throughout their lives.

Look out for Labels

Just about any can be claimed as "organic" but true organic food carries a special certification mark from USDA, India Organic or European Standards – Keep an eye out for these.

It's clear that organic foods take the cake! It is ideal for those who want the best quality and healthy produce with limited exposure and consumption of artificial substances.

Priyanka Shetty Sridhar

Founder of Mimmo Organics

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