I have some friends who are the supermoms I aspire to be. The ones who grow the vegetables from scratch for their littlest ones to eat, then harvest them (complete in designer wellington boots) and cook them and mush them, put them into little containers in perfect ratios of food groups and take over the world in their spare time. I am NOT that person.
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I’m the friend who runs around with heels, falling over half-eaten toddler meals and tow-truck wheels and never quite manages to shop in time to have anything decent in the fridge to cook (NOTE to self: Pull yourself towards yourself and start doing your grocery shopping online!!!) I’m the mom who has nothing really nutritious in the fridge, but lots of fermented grape juice in the fridge and the make-shift cellar (okay, not really grape juice per say, but wine IS sort of like grape juice and we all know how we need that glass at suicide hour).
I rarely make food myself for my 7 month old baby. I don’t often cook food from scratch for my husband or son, but they understand that I do make an effort at times (though some efforts have been quite inedible). I make a good breyani and a good apple struedel and that’s where my abilities in the kitchen seemingly cease to impress. I am a big believer in healthy convenience and admittedly have fed my son (ok, OUR son) ready-made meals from Woolies for the better part of his life and now that my daughter (OK, OUR daughter) has started eating “real” food, she also gets most of her meals from Woolies.
The working-mom guilt got to me (especially when I see my friends and their little homemade puree pots) and I decided to investigate how the big W made their baby food. I made arrangements to go and visit the Baby Food Company in Lansdowne and get the low down on what actually goes into the process of preparing baby food en masse. I was so happy to meet Rozi Andrew (Rozita, but everyone calls her Rozi) who started the company years ago as a mompreneur herself. In her own words:
“When it was time for my two daughters to start solid foods, I was bitterly disappointed with what I found on sale at the time; everything had added sugars and salts, and various additives. So in the end I decided to make my own.
It wasn’t easy. I had to come up with nutritionally-balanced meals but these also had to be interesting and exciting. Well, my girls really liked the results and I soon was asked to make food for my friends’ babies too.
Realizing I’d stumbled upon a unique product, I approached my employer at the time – Woolworths – and asked them whether they’d be interested in my purees. They jumped at the idea and so, together with a small group of family and friends, we built a brand-new factory and The Baby Food Company was born.”
Rozi is the Founder and Technical Director of this company and mom to Jessica and Rachel who were the inspiration for this now booming business. She has a number of degrees: BSc – Natal, BSc Medical Honours Nutrition and Dietetics – UCT Medical School, but her best qualification is that she is a mom who made her passion for nutrition for her family into a fantastic business. The products are made with a limited use of added salt, no sugar (only the new dessert options have minute amounts of sugar), no artificial colours, flavourants or sweeteners and they are healthy and delicious. When made with meat, free range meat is used. I was really impressed with how the factory works. I met many of the 45 staff members employed and can say with certainty that the only difference between the way they make the food and one would at home is that they use bigger pots. (That was what Rozi’s husband said – they work together- and very true.)
I donned the hair net, covered my feet in their factory approved gum boots -no Louboutins allowed, obvs 😉 The hygiene and safety standards really impressed me and they also showed me the very clever process of preparing the long-life or shelf-friendly sachets.
The range is quite impressive with awesome meals from age 6 months onwards and I have used the sachets for travels with our kiddies for over 2 years now and really am a fan, even before I met the team. You’ll find the fresh food in the fridges at Woolies or you can shop it online here. The long-life sachets are usually close to the nappies with all the other baby paraphernalia and the sauces which you can just add to rice, mash or pasta for toddlers when you’re on the go are next to the regular sauces in store.
Thanks, Rozi and team, for showing me around. It takes a village to raise a child and I’m glad you’re manning the pots in our village 😉
Lots of love and light,