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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Sharon Ann Carstairs, Leone C. A. Craig, Debbi Marais, Ourania E. Bora, Kirsty Kiezebrink

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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 pre-prepared main-meals available within the UK market. Main meal recipes identified from a survey of Amazon’s top 20 bestsellers and IYCF cookbooks available from local libraries.
Samples. 278 commercial IYCF savoury meals from UK market and 408 home-cooked recipes from bestselling 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). Recipes provided 26% more energy and 44% more protein and total fat compared to commercial products (r=-0.40, -0.31, -0.40 respectively) whilst 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
JournalArchives of Disease in Childhood
Issue number11
Early online date19 Jul 2016
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016

    Research areas

  • Infant feeding, Commercial foods, Home-cooked, Food variety, Child feeding

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