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

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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.


Cross-sectional study.


Full range of preprepared main meals available within the UK market. Main-meal recipes identified from a survey of Amazon's top 20 best-sellers and IYCF cookbooks available from local libraries.


278 commercial IYCF savoury meals from UK market and 408 home-cooked recipes from best-selling IYCF published cookbooks.

Main outcome measures

Cost and nutritional content per 100 g and food variety per meal for both commercial meals and home-cooked recipes.


Commercial products provided more ‘vegetable’ variety per meal (median=3.0; r=−0.33) than home-cooked recipes (2.0). Home-cooked recipes provided 26% more energy and 44% more protein and total fat than commercial products (r=−0.40, −0.31, −0.40, respectively) while costing less (£0.33/100 g and £0.68/100 g, respectively). The majority of commercial products (65%) met energy density recommendations but 50% of home-cooked recipes exceeded the maximum range.


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.

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