Journal of Nutrition and Dietetic Practice

Abstract

Complementary Feeding in Jamaica: The Hidden Cost of Commercial Baby Foods

Author(s): Rasheed Perry, Deonne Caines, Ava Simpson, Christine Fray Aiken and Fitzroy J Henry

The convenience and attraction of commercial baby foods have dominated the recent purchasing patterns of mothers in Jamaica. A supermarket survey of complementary foods found forty-four different preparations. We compared the commercial meals and homemade preparations to determine differences in price, nutritional profiles and value index using nutrient analysis software. We found the homemade meals to be more than 50% cheaper-some meals were even 87% cheaper. Apart from price, the vitamin A and protein content was higher in the homemade preparations. Homemade preparations were superior in providing the growing infant with the nutrients necessary to support growth and development. Even with assumptions for the cost of fuel and time these results show that much financial savings can be gained with homemade preparations. Without these savings, low income families are less able to cater for the other priority needs of the growing child-a hidden cost.
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