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Baby Food Pouch Guide

Best Baby Food Pouches New Web Size
1. White Leaf Provisions / 2. Cerebelly3. Once Upon a Farm 4. / Serenity Kids

Baby food pouches are much easier to handle than jars of food, and both of my kids enjoyed them well into their preschool years. In addition, pouched baby food is probably more nutritious than jarred foods (more on this below).

But not all brands of pouched baby foods–even the organic ones–are Good Stuff. In fact, we found only four brands that we can definitively recommend, which we’ve listed above.

Read on to learn how to read pouched baby food labels, the concerning contaminants you won’t see on labels, and which brands are Okay Stuff if you aren’t able to find the Good Stuff.

My Favorite Baby Food Pouches

I’m partial to the 100% organic White Leaf Provisions baby food pouches because they are biodynamic, in addition to being organic. You’ll read more about this brand below, under “The Good Stuff.”

  • White Leaf Big Baby Food Bundle from gimme the good stuff
    White Leaf Provisions Biodyamic Baby Food Bundle Box
    $99.95 or subscribe and save up to 5%
    Quick View

The Problems with Baby Food Pouches

Baby food pouches offer convenience, and I think they also offer a solid option for nutritious food for babies and toddlers. But pouched baby foods aren’t without drawbacks and concerns.

  • The biggest issue with baby food sold in pouches rather than glass jars is that is that the plastic pouches can not be easily recycled. All of the brands we reviewed use the same basic materials for their pouches, which is a combination of BPA-free polypropylene and foil. Fortunately, polypropylene seems to be the safest type of plastic, but that fact that you can’t really recycle it is obviously a big problem.
  • There are other potential downsides to pouch-feeding, including that it may inhibit chewing and even normal speech development. That said, I wouldn’t worry too much about this as long as your child has ample opportunity to eat finger foods in a variety of textures.
  • The issue of heavy metals in baby foods–while not unique to pouched food–is hugely concerning, and we covered this in depth here. (The one sentence story is: In 2020, the Subcommittee on Economic & Consumer Policy reported that arsenic, lead, and cadmium were present at problematic levels in many brands of organic baby food.) The big takeaway is to avoid rice-based baby food and anything with fruit juice concentrate, but we will also cover metal contamination in our review of the brands below.

The Upsides of Baby Food Pouches

Besides the convenience factor, pouched baby food has some advantages over traditional jarred baby food, including:

  • According to the companies that use them, plastic pouches better protect flavor and nutrients, and require lower, shorter heat times.
  • Pouches are free of BPA, whereas the lids of jarred food may contain BPA.
  • Pouches are roughly ten times lighter than classic glass jars, so they require that much less energy to produce and ship.
  • While pouches cannot be recycled, they use 75 percent less materials than traditional baby food containers.

A Non-Pouch Baby Food We Love

Amara is the only brand to freeze-dry whole, organic ingredients and then pulse them into powder to make baby food. Amara’s blends don’t use high heat processing, which also results in a lower-sugar final product. (And of course, none of Amara’s blends contain added sugar.)

Amara’s packets can be re-hydrated with water, breast milk, or formula, and it’s amazing to see them turn to a puree that retains the natural taste and texture of the whole ingredients–much more so than jarred or pouched baby food.

All Amara suppliers must meet third-party federal requirements for heavy metals, and none of Amara’s blends contain rice.

We also love that Amara’s packets are lightweight, making them less of an environmental burden, and that they are more affordable than pouched baby food.

I like this Veggies Starter Pack as an introduction to Amara.

Check out Amara here

How We Ranked Baby Food Pouches

What follows is our ranking of baby food pouches–some are Good, some are Okay, and others should be avoided entirely, and you’ll find these in our Bad Stuff and Sneaky Stuff sections.

The Good Stuff brands are the ones that are not only organic and nutritionally superior, but also those that offer some form of independent testing or certification to prove that they are not contaminated with heavy metals.

The Okay Stuff category is home to the brands that we would basically feel fine feeding to our babies, especially if it wasn’t their sole source of food. These brands didn’t make the cut for Good Stuff because either they lack certifications or independent testing or because they contain non-whole food ingredients–such as fruit juice concentrate or some kind of “flavoring.”

The Bad Stuff and Sneaky Stuff brands are ones that we would not recommend buying, due to either sub-par ingredients or contamination concerns. It’s worth noting that my boys both grew up eating Sneaky Stuff pouches since none of the Good Stuff brands existing even five years ago!

There are also several brands from which that we could not obtain sufficient information to determine whether they contain concerning levels of heavy metals or not. These include Peter Rabbit Organics, Ella’s Kitchen, Trader Joe’s, and Whole Foods 365 pouches.

Cerebelly

These pouches of baby food have always been tested for heavy metals, not just since the issue got so much attention. Cerebelly pouches are Clean Label Certified, and our team’s Dr. Hopkins has vetted this certification process as sufficiently robust.

Cerebelly’s founder is a neurosurgeon who casually also has her PhD, and these blends were developed to enhance brain development, with ingredients like maitake mushrooms and chlorella.

Amazon

Once Upon a Farm

What makes the Once Upon a Farm blends unique is that they are cold pressed to lock in the nutrients. The high-pressure processing makes Once Upon a Farms superior to basically every brand in terms both nutrition and freshness.

Although these pouches need to be refrigerated, they are fine at room temp for four hours, so they still work on the go.

These fruit and veggie blends are made from organic, simple ingredients. They use whole produce and don’t add any sugar, even in the form of “fruit concentrate.”

Once Upon a Farm is Clean Label certified.

Amazon
Once upon a farm baby food pouches gimme teh good stuff

Serenity Kids

This line of Paleo-inspired baby food uses organic vegetables and grass-fed and pasture-raised meats. Serenity’s blends were designed to mimic the macro-nutrients found in breast milk, meaning they have a similar ratio of fats, proteins, and carbs.

All Serenity blends are free of hormones, antibiotics, GMO’s, gluten, fillers, grain, dairy, corn, allergens, eggs, and nuts. Serenity Kids is verified by the Clean Label Project, which means their products are tested for over 200 different contaminants, including heavy metals, glyphosate, agrochemicals, and plastics. Use code GIMME15 for 15% off.

Also, Serenity Kids they will refund your money, no questions asked, if your kid doesn’t like the pouches you buy!

serenity kids salmon pouch gimme the good stuff

White Leaf Provisions

This is my favorite line of baby food pouches–and the only brand we’ve chosen to carry in our online store because of their commitment to regenerative farming.

White Leaf baby food pouches are even better than organic, because they’re also biodynamic. Biodynamic farms are built to integrate every living organism within the system to maximizing the health and vitality of the farm’s every aspect. A biodynamic farm aims to produce everything on the premises, including seeds, fertilizers, natural control agents for pests, and eventhe  feed for livestock.When we asked the White Leaf owners about heavy metals in their baby food, we were relieved to received the following response: “I want to reassure you that we test annually for metals in all four baby food blends and I am happy to say that our results come in below the FDA limit that they set for rice cereal and apple juice.”

Choose from a range of fruit and veggie blends–all of which are free of concentrates and fillers.

  • White Leaf Provisions Biodynamic Snack Box from gimme the good stuff
    White Leaf Provisions Biodynamic Snack Box
    $108.00 or subscribe and save up to 5%
    Quick View

Gerber Organics pouches are okay if they contain just the fruit and veggies on the front of the package. But you need to label-read, because the Banana Smoothie flavor, for instance, contains banana concentrate rather than pure bananas, as well as “vanilla flavor” instead of just vanilla extract. I am giving Gerber enough points to bump their organic pouches to Okay Stuff because they were the cleanest brand in terms of heavy metal contamination in the 2020 Congressional Report.  For each of the specific heavy metals listed, the examples of Gerber ingredients’ metal levels appear relatively low compared to the other manufacturers.


Little Spoon Smoothie Pouches are new to the market and I like that they contain some nutritional powerhouses like tahini, chia seeds, and chickpeas. This is admittedly nit-picky, but I’m calling these Okay Stuff instead of Good Stuff because they use oat flour instead of actual oats in a few of their blaends, and because I can’t get any information on heavy metal testing.

Gerber is maybe the only brand that makes a non-organic pouch, so I’m calling that Bad Stuff. (Note that Gerber organic pouches are actually Okay Stuff–see above!).


GoGo squeeZ has a few organic options, even those contain concentrates in place of real fruits. Some of their blends even contain cane sugar, and they make no claims about purity from heavy metals. They also contain rice flour, natural flavors, and pea protein isolate. This brand is the worst of every brand we reviewed.


Beech-Nut went organic six years ago, and they make some nutritious blends that contain just mixed fruits and vegetables. Unfortunately, the 2021 Congressional Report revealed that Beech-Nut continued to use ingredients after internal testing found them to have very high levels of a variety of heavy metals, including arsenic, lead, and cadmium.


Earth’s Best‘s parent company, Hain, was called out in the 2021 Congressional Report for setting its own dangerously high heavy metal internal standards, and then routinely accepting ingredients that surpassed these standards. In addition, even their simplest flavors (pears, for instance) are fortified with all sorts of stuff, including zinc sulfate, and citric acid.


HappyBABY, under the parent company Nuture, makes pouches that contain nutritious blends of vegetables and grains, and high quality proteins like wild Alaskan salmon. I would like to give them credit for testing for mercury, but the 2021 Congressional Report revealed that their test data shows finished food products with as much as 10 ppb of this neurotoxic (the recommendation is that it should not exceed 5 ppb). Nuture is also called out in the report for claiming that they used a standard of 50 ppb for lead, and then later submitting test documents showing that their standard was actually of 100 ppb.


Noka isn’t marketed for babies, but a lot of you asked about this brand. Noka is organic and I love that their pouches are hearty with things like nut butters included. Unfortunately, Noka pouches contain non-whole-food ingredients, like brown rice protein, natural flavors, and sunflower lecithin.


Plum Organics refused to comply when asked to submit heavy metal testing data to the Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy in 2019, which makes them default Sneaky Stuff. Plum claims that they “responded quickly to their questions and never refused anything requested of us.” Also, it’s a little sneaky that the “grains” in these blends are actually grain flours (i.e., millet flour, oat flour, etc.) Some of Plum’s other toddler snacks contain sugar. (Note that Plum is owned by Campbell.)


Parent’s Choice is another brand that didn’t cooperate with the investigation into heavy metals in 2019. A 2021 lawsuit claims that “The Subcommittee found [Parent’s Choice’s] lack of transparency greatly concerning, fearing that they might be obscuring the presence of higher levels of toxic heavy metals in their baby food products than their competitors’ products.”


Sprout Foods faces a class suit in the state of California, USA, for “negligent, reckless, and/or intentional practice of misrepresenting and failing to fully disclose the presence of dangerous substances in its baby foods.”

Baby Food Pouches

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65 responses to “Baby Food Pouch Guide”

  1. Was I living under a rock?? I had no idea about these heavy metal reports and thought I was doing good when I offered my twins pouches….plum organic are their favorites. They are 3 now but I wonder what kind of heavy metal load they have. I didn’t hear anything about this in any of the mom groups either.

  2. What about mamma chia pouches?

  3. What do you think of Safe Catch brand, for fish to give to babies eating solids?

    Thanks,

  4. hello. My baby is about to start food in a month. The recent toxicity report of baby foods is obviously very disconcerting. Are there any safe ones out there?

  5. What do you think of the Love Child pouches?

  6. Hi, I use the Earth’s Best pouches because they are the only ones I can find (although I will now check out Beech Nut) that have options that are just veggies, versus a mix of veggies and fruit, so there is about 10 grams less sugar in them. On the package the only ingredients listed are the two veggies and water. Are you saying that the other additives are in there but not required to be listed on the packaging? Thanks!

  7. Most pouch ingredients mention “fruit puree” and “vegetable puree” instead of whole food, which means the brand buys the food as pureed and then create their own flavor mix. All of that cooking and recooking and pasturizing must kill most of the nutrients and turn the food to sugar concentrates, any research on the actual benefits in the food?

  8. Our baby is on a keto-like diet for seizure control. Do you happen to know of any trust-worthy low carb packets? The Serenity Kids is likely the closest on your list, but I didn’t look at the label. Would be helpful to have packets I can easily stash in the diaper bag for emergencies or for days when I’m stressed to the max.

  9. Another great thing about Once Upon a Farm is that they are partnered with Terracycle so you can order a postage paid return envelope from their site to return the used containers for them to recycle!

    https://www.terracycle.com/en-US/brigades/onceuponafarm

  10. I think this page needs to be updated in light of recent testing by Consumer Reports that found unacceptable levels of heavy metals in jars and pouches in most baby food, including organic ones. Here is the link to the report: https://www.consumerreports.org/food-safety/heavy-metals-in-baby-food/

    I personally and tossing all my pouches, jars, and teething biscuits.

    1. Generally, the ones highest in concerning metals/arsenic are those with rice or rice powder, sweet potatoes, and apple juice.

  11. What are your thoughts on the most recent study? Every day is a new worry.

    https://www.consumerreports.org/food-safety/heavy-metals-in-baby-food/

  12. Hello! Are there any reusable food pouches you recommend? I see loads on Amazon (ChooMe, Squooshi & WeeSprout). My almost 2-year old loves them for her daily yoghurt and snacks on the go (busy single, full time working NYC mama here!). Appreciate any insight you may have.

    Thanks from Battery Park,
    Aisling

  13. Could you report on Aldi’s Little Journey baby line? They have organic food pouches, diapers, wipes and more. I’d love to get yoyr take on them.

  14. What do you think of the added vitmain E in Plum Organics Mighty 4 Tots? It says 30 percent. I know too much vitamin e can be toxic and my one year old is on toddler formula and sometimes has 2 of these a day

  15. Hi, what are your thoughts on Little Spoon foods? I think they are rather new?

  16. Have you seen this new study that came out about baby jar foods and pouches as well as toddler snacks? It’s called the Clean Label Project. It’s changing the way I offer all snacks to my 2 year old!!

    https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2017/10/25/these-baby-foods-and-formulas-tested-positive-arsenic-lead-and-bpa-new-study/794291001/

  17. Has this guide been updated? I too am a big fan of this website, and would love some guidance on navigating the puree pouch world in light of these recent studies. Thank you!

  18. Hi, do you think your reviews of baby foods including puffs will change since the news story broke yesterday about foods containing BPA and arsenic? Sprouts and Happy Baby were on the list which has me in a panic because we feed our 8 month old the happy baby puffs and I have looked at their purees a few times.

  19. Thank you so much! I love coming to this site for suggestions on what’s safest for my baby. It’s so hard to find the “good stuff” with all these brands out there all claiming all to be “good” for your little one. I came across this short article though, and got concerned since “Sprout” is one of the brands listed on this post: http://newjersey.news12.com/story/36679736/study-most-baby-food-products-test-positive-for-arsenic

    1. Was just about to post a similar question and see you and others are asking the same. I love this site too and have exclusively buying Sprout pouches when I can’t make something homemade or need an easy snack.

  20. Hi, I had been feeding my daughter Pumpkin Tree Peter Rabbit Organics snack pouches (making sure to avoid those with juice in them), BUT I just saw this on the Clean Label Project http://www.cleanlabelproject.org/product_category/pouches/page/7/ .. A lot were rated a 1 for heavy metal inclusion 🙁

  21. How about beechnut organic?

  22. Beechnut now has organic food. They too use the cold press cooking method. They do not use additives like ascorbic acid or lemon juice. I am interested in what you have to say about this new line.

  23. What about Holle pouches?

  24. I too found once upon a farm and would live your thoughts. It’s cold pressed, organic, no added sugars and they list the farms where the ingredients are from. It seems great! Please let me know what you think.

    1. Looks awesome:).

  25. Seeing you are so concerned about plastics touching your child, I hope you cloth diaper and with only natural material diapers. Do you allow your child to touch toys, spoons, put anything at all in his mouth (including things made to be chewed on)? Those things are likely all plastic or have some sort of chemical on it. You also stated that the pouches aren’t recycled but there are a few brands of recyclable ones out there for making your own. Pouches are just the latest fad. It’ll go in and out several times over the years. Just like BLW will and like breastfeeding has. Everything that’s good for us today is bad for us next week. Some is science becoming more advanced and others is just philosophy/opinion.

  26. What do you think of the Happy Baby adult product line, SHINE ORGANICS, for infant/toddlers?

    On their website they actually have a link to Happy Baby under the FAQ that asks if kids can enjoy Shine Products. To me, despite not being a full meal with protein and whatnot, the Shine pouches seem a lot healthier than the Happy Baby ones. I have fed my girl them when she opts out of eating dinner – which generally is just what I eat. I figure at least she is getting some good stuff from these pouches?

    Also, there is a relatively new line, Once Upon A Farm, that is Cold Pressed. I bought a box and they seem like a really great option for days when I don’t want to cook a super baby friendly healthy meal. Thoughts on this brand?

    1. Hi there! Thanks for these suggestions. This guide is due for an update and we will include both of them when we do this.

      1. Hi! My name is Megan, I work with Once Upon A Farm. We would love for you to include us on an updated baby food review.

        1. Hi Megan-
          Please email me at maia@gimmethegoodstuff.org with some more info about your products!

  27. Hi there,

    I’m getting ready to start my LO on stage 1 foods. Which brand do you prefer for being organic, non-gmo (if possible), bpa free. I’d prefer to use jars over pouches.

    Any advice would be apperciated!

    1. Here is where I’ve written about baby food (although the page is in need of an update! https://gimmethegoodstuff.org/safe-product-guides/jarred-food/)

  28. I heard that Plum Organics food and pouches are made in China. Does this impact your reviews at all?

  29. Hi! What are your thoughts on the frozen Yummy Spoonfuls pouches? I know you listed the plastic container ones as good stuff. We bought a few at Target. My husband usually makes our baby food but we like to have some easily accessible ones for leaving the house and stuff. We use the clear Happy Baby ones sometimes as well. Thanks!

    1. Frozen Yummy Spoonfuls is Good Stuff. We actually covered them in our review here: https://gimmethegoodstuff.org/safe-product-guides/best-frozen-food/

  30. I’ve been reading about the dangers of aluminum and its connection to neurological diseases and disorders. My kids love pouches and we mainly buy Happy Baby, Peter Rabbit and Plum. It seems all pouches are made with both plastic and aluminum. I worry about the exposure to both. My kids usually eat 1-2 pouches per day! Do the exposure risks outweigh the positive benefits of feeding them organic fruits and vegetables via pouches?

    1. The part that touches the food in those pouches is polypropylene, an inert plastic (as far as we know, anyway). I wouldn’t be overly concerned about it, but of course food served from glass would be preferable! I’d bet most kids (mine included) eat a pouch or two a day!

  31. What are your thoughts on reusable baby food pouches such as these ones? As far as I can tell they are made of PETE and HDPE.

    https://www.amazon.ca/Reusable-Food-Pouch-Baby-Storage/dp/B01CC4P8XU/ref=sr_1_2?s=baby&ie=UTF8&qid=1467810911&sr=1-2

    I am leary of any type of plastic, sometimes I feel like unless I live in the middle of nowhere and live like a cave person I can’t completely avoid plastic. But if I can use the “safer” plastics when I truly have a need for something to be convenient then at least there’s minimal exposure right?

    I have also came across these ones but not sure if they are made of the same materials.

    https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00TXBSHBQ/ref=ox_sc_act_title_7?smid=A36G20Z4GFRPDY&psc=1
    https://www.amazon.ca/Yummi-Pouch-Brights-Reusable-Pouches/dp/B00E5LOPB0/ref=sr_1_1?s=baby&ie=UTF8&qid=1467814816&sr=1-1&keywords=yummy+pouch

    1. The Healthy Planet pouches look fine to me. I wouldn’t be concerned about those plastics. I’m not familiar with the other pouches. And I can’t seem to find any listed ingredients, so I can’t really make a call on those. But I’ll add them to the list.

  32. I am letting every mother out there know about the horrible time our family has had. At a year old we had our oldest daughter tested for lead and she came back at 9! After a year and a half of pulling hair and having everything thrown away and tested, our second daughter had a lead level if 7 soon after i started feeding her her sisters food pouches at 8 months. We stopped giving them and a month later Alanys is 3.8 and we are waiting for test results on Elsa. We used all sorts of different brands, but just the organic ones. I suspect it is the foil packaging. Please let others know. These need to be taken off the market.

  33. GoGo Squeez does have USDA Organic applesauce and organic fruit/veggie pouches and they are BPA Free. Just wanted to let you know.

    1. Yes! I recently noticed that they’ve gone organic:). Will update when we revise this Guide!

      1. I don’t see GoGo Squeeze in the revision. Thoughts?

  34. I’ve read a lot of your blog posts now about avoiding plastics #3, 6 and 7. I recently purchased a Vitamix thinking, “Yay, great way to get organic greens into my very picky toddler’s diet and wean him off those pouches!” However, while Vitamix claims the pitcher is BPA free, I recently looked inside the pitcher to see a #7 stamped inside. *Angry face*. So now what do I do? Ditch the Vitamix or don’t make green smoothies every other day? Stick with a glass low power blender?

    1. I know, this is really annoying, isn’t it?! Some of us here at Gimme the Good Stuff do use a Vitamix. Just keep hot stuff out of it, and transfer it to glass quickly!

      1. I bought a stainless steel jar made by Waring that fits perfectly onto the Vitamix. We use it for any hot stuff we’re blending (soups or coffee drinks). We still use the Vitamix plastic one for cold smoothies though – it’s nice to be able to see how well things are blending and I think the Vitamix blades are better.

  35. My son loved the pouches, starting at around 9 months when he became interested in foods other than breastmilk, I think also because of the sucking factor, but they almost all contain either lemon juice or ascorbic acid as a preservative and we knew ascorbic acid was a reflux aggravator, but also lemon juice upset his stomach as well. I stopped giving him the pouches by 1year, because they seemed to be compounding his stomach/reflux issues which we had worked so hard to reduce. They are convenient, but like most snack foods, I don’t think they are particularly good to be eating on a regular basis, even if they are organic, etc. And fyi, 90% of the ascorbic acid that is produced is made in china and made by synthesizing it from sugar. Any pouches that contain ascorbic acid should be avoided, even if they are organic.

  36. A comment regarding your baby led weaning note – it is really great, even with the process being messy and slow. However, that being said, we still have a toddler who loves his pouches, the convenience is quite great, and sometimes it’s the ONLY way he will eat his vegetables.
    My only complaint with a lot of the pouches you mentioned in the ‘good stuff’ above is that few make vegetable-only flavored pouches. Aside from the starter ones, most of the blends always have fruit to sweeten it. While I’m not a Gerber person, their organic veggie pouches are often the only ones I can find with no added fruit! Any thoughts?
    PS… love, love, love your website!!

    1. Thanks, Kim! I’m sure the Gerber Organics ones are okay–this Guide is in need of an update, so when we do so, I’ll be sure look for veggie only brands. Thanks for your comment!

    2. I know you love your baby, but have you tried to live on a diet of these foods…….I mean really survive on them???

      they give me reflux……..more and a whole box of Magnum ice cream…..

      something is not right.

  37. We noticed that our local Walmart has a Parent’s Choice pouch for only 88 cents. Know much about these and if you’d recommend them? My 1 year old LOVES pouches and it comforts me to know he is getting some food down.

    1. Hi Rachel! I would not recommend this brand as it isn’t organic.
      Thanks for reading and writing!

      1. Parent’s Choice now has organic pouches.

        1. Yes! That’s why I was researching them too. It would amazing if there’s nothing sneaky in it because it’s so cheap!!

  38. Love your site!

    You may want to check out a company called Love Child Organics. As far as I can tell, they are the most “pure” of the baby food brands. Their starter purees have only one ingredient and don’t even include ascorbic acid or lemon juice. None of their snacks for babies under a year old have any added sugar or salt (they have great teething biscuits made with ancient grains).

    I think the brand is more widely available in Canada, but I have friends in the US who still find it no problem.

    Thanks again for all the great product advice!

    1. Thanks for the suggestion! I will definitely look into this brand when I update this Safe Product Guide!

    2. I follow a holistic nutritionist based in Canada, and she highly recommends this brand as well!

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