A new report from market research company Mintel suggests there will be only modest growth in the baby food and drink market over the next five years.

Mintel forecasts that the total market will grow to US$3.6bn by 2011, from its current level of $3.5bn.

The report states that with birth rates not expected to rise dramatically, companies are looking for new options to boost sales within the baby food and drink market.

Among these new areas are toddler-focused foods and organic products, which offer a “major opportunity” to increase category sales.

According to the report, more than 60% of respondents who have children aged three or under at home said that they use or plan to use a combination of adult foods and specially-made toddler foods, while an additional 14% said they use or plan to use only toddler foods to feed their child.
“There is a stronger emphasis placed on nutrition and combating obesity in the younger years than ever before,” said Mintel analyst Erin Fowler. “Parents are looking for the proper nutritional mix for their children earlier. However, they are still feeling the pressures of a time-deprived society, so more convenient offerings that can promote better health for toddlers are a necessity.”