Baby Food Trends: Global Market Overview

Explore the latest baby food trends, including ingredient and new product innovation

March 12, 2024 – Foods and beverages for babies and toddlers are rapidly changing. Innova Market Insights actively monitors and tracks product launches to better understand innovation and how it shapes baby food trends.

Baby Snacks Drive Growth in the Baby Food Category

Baby snacks are the fastest growing of all food and beverage subcategories for babies and toddlers, growing from 10% of launches for babies and toddlers in 2019 to 15% in 2023. Other subcategories with growing shares of launches include baby meals, baby drinks and other baby foods.

Europe Leads in Market Share; Asia is on the Rise  

Of all global regions, Europe has the largest market share of infant and toddler new product launches at 42%. However, Europe is losing share to Asia-Pacific, which has nearly equal share and is growing. North America and the Middle East/Africa are also slightly increasing their share of global launches.

Several Claims are Most Prominent on Launches for Babies and Toddlers  

Clean label claims are widely used on baby and toddler foods and beverages. Clean label claims can include no additives or preservatives, no added sugar, and gluten-free. Plant-based, a claim often associated with clean label, is the fastest growing claim in baby and toddler foods, with a compound annual growth rate of +43% between 2019 and 2023. Low/no/reduced calorie is up +27%, and low/reduced glycemic index (GI) is up +26% over the same period. Trending baby food flavors range from popular fruit flavors such as apple and banana to fast-growing mushroom, cocoa, seaweed and sweet corn.

Baby Food Trends

Ingredient Innovation Helps Replicate Breast Milk  

Advances in innovation are transforming the ingredients used in foods and beverages for infants and toddlers. Innova’s baby food trends analysis shows that Schizochytrium, an oil source of DHA, is the fastest-growing ingredient in infant and toddler foods over the five-year period from 2019 to 2023. 2′-Fucosyllactose, a human milk oligosaccharide (HMO), and lactoferrin, a milk protein, are also growth leaders among ingredients.

Probiotic strains with specific health benefits are becoming more common for baby food trends, such as Lactobacillus fermentum (CECT 5716), which is associated with healthy digestion and absorption, and L. Reuteri, which improves intestinal function and digestion.

Innovation also enables baby and toddler foods and beverages to better mimic the rich nutrient profile of human breast milk. Various human milk oligosaccharides (HMOs) are gaining regulatory approval in many countries. HMOs are a component of human milk that appears to benefit gut health and digestion.

Another innovation is the use of precision fermentation to create new ingredients such as human milk fats. One example is the breast milk fat sn-2 palmitate. Another fat replicated from human milk is OPO* (chemically described as 1,3-dioleoyl-2-palmitoyl-glycerol or 1,3-dioleolyl-2-palmitate). OPO helps infants to absorb nutrients and is critical to infant health.

Lactoferrin is Produced by Precision Fermentation  

Baby food trends can be seen in breast milk innovations. The milk protein lactoferrin also can be produced by precision fermentation. Lactoferrin has multiple functional benefits. It boosts immunity and also helps regulate the baby’s immune response by activating immune cells and promoting immune signaling. Lactoferrin also supports gut health by improving absorption and strengthening the intestinal barrier. This important component of breast milk helps regulate iron absorption and metabolism. Recently, a company used precision fermentation to release the world’s first sustainably produced lactoferrin.

New Products Focus on Benefits to Babies and Moms  

According to Innova’s baby food trends, goat milk-based baby and toddler products are on the rise, including in the US, UK, and South Korea. Goat milk products are promoted for easy digestion and climate benefits.

Personalized health and nutrition is growing in products for young children. The results of a quiz drive subscription plans for parents and caregivers who are looking for convenience. Products include meals and pouches for children at various stages of food introduction, products for picky eaters, and snacks for lunchboxes and on the go. The products help children with self-feeding, palate training, and skill building.

Health for moms is being recognized. New launches for maternal health include nutrition bars for immunity and reduced fatigue for moms, hydration, and support for lactation.

Baby and Toddlers Products for Profit and Purpose  

Baby food trends showcase that increasingly, companies are dedicating a portion of profits to various causes. These can include charities supporting local families; protection of the planet through sustainability, local sourcing, eco friendliness, plant-based, biodynamic farming, carbon footprint reduction, and regenerative agriculture.


This article is based on our report, “New Product Trendspotting: Baby & Toddler Food Trends – Global.” If you are interested in reading this report, feel free to request a demo.
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