Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Seafood inclusion in commercial main meal early years' food products

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Open Access permissions



Sharon Ann Carstairs, Debbi Marais, Leone Craig, Kirsty Kiezebrink

School/Research organisations


Seafood consumption is recommended as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Under-exposure to seafood during early years feeding, when taste and food acceptance is developed, may impact on the future development of a varied diet. This study aimed to investigate the availability and nutritional content of seafood in commercial infant meals compared to the other food types. A survey was conducted of all commercial infant main meal products available for purchase in supermarkets, high street retailers and online stores within the United Kingdom. The primary food type (seafood, poultry, meat and vegetables) within each product, nutritional composition per 100 g, and ingredient contribution were assessed. Of the original 341 main meal products seafood (n = 13; 3.8%) was underrepresented compared to poultry (103; 30.2%), meat (121; 35.5%) and vegetables (104; 30.5%). The number of the seafood meals increased three years later (n = 20; 6.3%) vegetable meals remained the largest contributor to the market (115; 36.4%) with meat (99; 31.3%) and poultry (82; 26.0%) both contributing slightly less than previously. Seafood-based meals provided significantly higher energy (83.0 kcal), protein (4.6 g), and total fat (3.2 g) than vegetable (68 kcal, 2.7 g, 1.9 g), meat (66 kcal, 3.0 g, 2.1 g) and poultry-based meals (66 kcal, 3.0 g, 2.1 g) and higher saturated fat (1.3 g) than poultry (0.4 g) and vegetable-based (0.6 g) meals (all per 100 g) which may be attributed to additional dairy ingredients. Parents who predominantly use commercial products to wean their infant may face challenges in sourcing a range of seafood products to enable the introduction of this food into the diet of their infant.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)860-868
JournalMaternal and Child Nutrition
Issue number4
Early online date20 Apr 2015
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016

    Research areas

  • Infant feeding, Seafood, Complementary feeding, Pre-prepared foods, Baby food, Early years

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Snack portion sizes for preschool children are predicted by caregiver portion size, caregiver feeding practices and children's eating traits

    Reale, S., Simpson, R., Marr, C., Carstairs, S. A., Cecil, J. E., Hetherington, M. & Caton, S., 10 Dec 2019, In : Nutrients. 11, 2, p. 1-17 17 p., 3020.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Colour as a cue to eat: effects of plate colour on snack intake in pre-school children

    Carstairs, S. A., Caton, S., Hetherington, M., Rolls, B. & Cecil, J. E., 2 Dec 2019, In : Food Quality and Preference. In press, 103862.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Can reduced intake associated with downsizing of a high energy dense meal item be offset by increased vegetable variety in 3-5-year-old children?

    Carstairs, S. A., Caton, S. J., Blundell-Birtill, P., Rolls, B. J., Hetherington, M. M. & Cecil, J. E., 3 Dec 2018, In : Nutrients. 10, 12, 15 p., 1879.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 245113074