A comparison of preprepared commercial infant feeding meals with home-cooked recipes

Sharon A. Carstairs (Lead / Corresponding author), Leone CA Craig, Debbi Marais, Ourania E. Bora, Kirsty Kiezebrink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)
39 Downloads (Pure)


Objectives To compare the cost, nutritional and food variety contents of commercial meals and published infant and young child feeding (IYCF) home-cooked recipes, and to compare nutritional contents to age-specific recommendations. Design Cross-sectional study. Setting Full range of preprepared main meals available within the UK market. Main-meal recipes identified from a survey of Amazon's top 20 best-sellers and IYCF cookbooks available from local libraries. Samples 278 commercial IYCF savoury meals from UK market and 408 home-cooked recipes from best-selling IYCF published cookbooks. Main outcome measures Cost and nutritional content per 100g and food variety per meal for both commercial meals and home-cooked recipes. Results Commercial products provided more 'vegetable' variety per meal (median=3.0; r=-0.33) than home-cooked recipes (2.0). Home-cooked recipes provided 26% more energy and 44% more protein and total fat than commercial products (r=-0.40, -0.31, -0.40, respectively) while costing less (£0.33/100g and £0.68/100g, respectively). The majority of commercial products (65%) met energy density recommendations but 50% of home-cooked recipes exceeded the maximum range. Conclusions The majority of commercial meals provided an energy-dense meal with greater vegetable variety per meal to their home-cooked counterparts. Home-cooked recipes provided a cheaper meal option, however the majority exceeded recommendations for energy and fats.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1037-1042
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Disease in Childhood
Issue number11
Early online date19 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2016


  • Child Feeding
  • Commercial Foods
  • Food Variety
  • Home-cooked
  • Infant Feeding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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