Parents of babies and young children quickly come to see baby product manufacturers and retailers as allies and supporters in their new life. Mums leaving hospital with new babies are plunged into the new reality of having to feed and keep them clean 24/7, while establishing a routine that gives them a chance to get some sleep and start over.
The world can seem hostile to new parents: places mums went to before the birth often feel less friendly when they go back with their new baby. Shopping, seeing friends, just getting around, it’s all suddenly more difficult. On top of this public baby changing facilities and the other resources mums and their partners think they will be able to rely on, often leave much to be desired in reality.
At these times the supermarkets, and especially their online shopping services and their convenience format outlets, take on a new importance in consumers’ lives. And so do the brands consumers trust, which tend to be much the same from generation to generation. One such brand is Cow & Gate, part of Danone Early Life Nutrition, the overall baby feeding market leader with an overall market share of 55%.
“One of the big trends we’re seeing is mums demanding more time back with their little ones,” says Roz Davies, Head of Category Development at Danone Early Life Nutrition UK. “They want to enjoy the experience of getting to know their baby and are looking for new ways to take out the hassle. It’s all about making mum’s life easy – hence we have launched EazyPack packaging for our milk powders, which can be opened and used with one hand, very handy when holding a baby.”
Danone report convenient bottle-feeding formats seeing growth across the board. RTD liquids, pouches, and single-serve formats all respond to this need and have experienced category growth. Liquid Formula Milks are in volume growth at +4.7% YOY. As babies move onto solid food, mums turn to traditional convenient feeding formats like baby jars. With their proven heritage and convenience jars continue to be hugely valuable, worth £35m overall. Cow & Gate’s volume share within the savoury jars segment has gone up by +14% to 65.2%.
Organic products have made considerable headway in baby food, just as they have elsewhere in the grocery market, with the strongest performance in wet meals and finger foods. HiPP Organic, one of the UK’s most loved organic baby food brands, is airing its first ever TV campaign, following a successful television trial in April as the headline sponsor for Little Big Shots on ITV.
The rising number of working mums who juggle careers and families is driving the Baby toiletries sector, another major part of this market. Childs Farm, the UK’s fastest growing baby and child toiletries brand, has added three new products, a blueberry and organic mango bubble bath, a watermelon and organic pineapple hair and body wash and an unfragranced version of their baby moisturiser. In Boots, Childs Farm is 37% bigger than Johnson’s Baby, with over 70% of category growth.