How could it be that the baby food is older than the baby?
Last week, we got a text from Mats Lönne, CEO and founder of the Swedish company OTTO’s Baby Food. Do you remember? This is what happened.
Monday, SAS Boeing bound for Copenhagen, seat 28 A and B. Just before takeoff, we hear a sound from our cell phones. It’s a text from Mats Lönne, CEO and founder of the Swedish company OTTO’s Baby Food, in which he tells us about an ongoing four-year-fight between the baby food brand Semper, and smaller brands like the organic Otto. The flight attendant gives us a hard look and asks us to turn off our phones. A so called cliffhanger.
Once arrived in Copenhagen, we read the article he sent us. Apparently, the Swedish baby food industry has been up and running for almost 100 years, and it all started in the dairy business, and the discovery on how to turn milk into milk powder. In a process in which you remove the water from the milk and then collect and treat the remaining powder, you’re able to create an extremely long-lasting and durable product. The brand Semper was born, and so was Sweden’s first milk powder factory.
Further down the page we read about the pressure cooker. By using a powerful pressure cooker, apparently, you’re able to sterilize baby food and make it last much longer. And that’s really good, if you want long-lasting, durable food. But for us, who eat to strengthen our gut flora and immune system, it all sounds pretty crazy. Heat-treated, sterilized and processed food, with added vitamins and fats – what kind of parent would voluntarily serve that to a child? We realize immediately that we actually did that a couple of years ago, thoughtlessly, like it was the most natural thing in the world. We look at each other and think: how could we?
And so, we remember. The tiredness. The insecurity. How fragile parents of young children can be, and how we didn’t “take chances” when it came to the wellbeing of our children. The Children’s Healthcare Center and the authorities recommend baby gruel and canned baby food. We couldn’t question them, of course. At least not until six years later, in a cab from the airport to Copenhagen city.
Apparently, both of us share the same memory: we never wanted to try the baby food. In retrospect, it’s pretty interesting that neither of us liked the taste of the food that we decided to give to our kids. After all, as we get closer to Nyhavn, we realize that if we could turn back time, we would never feed our children dried baby gruel and canned baby food. Ever. Today, we’re aware of the importance of good bacteria in the body, especially during the baby’s first year of life, in which the gut flora develops. Knowing this, it’s crystal clear to us: sterilized canned food can never be better than a home-cooked meal.
The taxi stops and we’ve arrived at our destination. It’s not Semper. According to their web page, they only produce “real food”, for kids. They say that all children have the right to naturally tasty food – every day. That a child’s body develops more rapidly during the first year than during any other subsequent period. And therefore, the diet needs to be tailored to their specific needs.
Word. Children have the right to naturally tasty food. And, believe it or not, it doesn’t have to be expensive, nor complicated. How about a cooked potato mashed with some coconut oil? Or a banana mashed with delicious blueberries?