BRAINFOOD: Decisions

Lizzie Vann, Baby Organix - The pioneer of organic infant food reviews her choices

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Last Updated: 09 Oct 2013

MY BEST ...

Deciding to go with babies as our customers for our organic food brand was probably my best decision. In 1992 a friend and I were discussing food sectors for Organix. We considered different types of groceries, from breakfast cereals to jam, before hitting on baby food. There were a lot of obstacles - baby food has to be extremely high quality and of the right consistency, and technically it's difficult to make because everything has to be sterilised. And then there's the fact that there aren't that many babies at any one time in the UK, and they only eat baby food for about six months before moving on to other foods. Finally, the food has to taste good. Babies are very honest - if they don't like something, they just spit it out.

People questioned our decision at first. Parents used and trusted the brands that their own parents had used. But various food scares have increased the focus on organic food. In 1992, no babies ate organic food; now, two out of three babies do. And since we established our brand, big retailers have started selling organic baby food, so we've been riding that wave.

MY WORST ...

Over the years, we've been approached regularly by large multinational companies wanting to work with us or take over Baby Organix. I've always said no. I wonder now whether the company might have been larger at this point if we'd partnered with a big company earlier on.

Baby Organix has always had very strong ethics. It's all about high-quality foods and providing information for parents. Too many companies see children purely as a profit opportunity. But parents care about safety and quality and we've created a fast-track into what people are thinking and buying.

Given that background, I was sceptical about the big companies that have approached us. We've avoided spending any time talking to them. Yet 12 years on, I'm considering whether it might be the right thing to do, and that maybe we've been too standoffish in the past. I had thought it could only be a bad thing, but then, like any small company - our annual turnover is £9 million - we could do with the resources. I wonder if I should be making the best of any opportunity that arises?

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