The baby food wars: Ella’s Kitchen vs Piccolo vs Aldi’s own

It’s quite straightforward for a Dad of a breastfed baby, especially in the early months. You don’t have to worry about getting up in the middle of the night to make a bottle. You don’t have to worry about your little one screaming the place down as they grow more and more hungry while you wait for the bottle to cool down.

But as they get a bit older the big, wide world of solid foods becomes a reality. What do I give them? How much do I give them? Which brand do I give them? Can I make my own?

You can, of course, make and freeze your own purees; something Emma has taken great pleasure in doing. However, it’s also really nice to know there’s a pouch full of food ready and waiting, especially when you’re out and about.

We’ve tried three different brands of puree, so I thought I’d break them down for you and give you our verdict.

Ella’s Kitchen

Probably the most high-profile baby puree brand, it was the one I’d actually heard of before we had Raife, unsurprisingly. So this is where we started, with Ella’s Kitchen.

It was probably the first baby puree brand to really hit the heights in terms of awareness and success because of its focus on organic ingredients. Of course, to start with, it was pretty straightforward single or combination fruits – nothing too exotic! In the early stages, they definitely did the job of getting Raife interested in something other than Raife’s boobs.

As Raife got a bit older and bit more used to solid foods, we started to introduce some of the more ‘interesting’ flavours and combinations; squash, sweet potato & parsnip and carrots, peas & kale, for instance. And now we’re onto flavours like ‘Moreish Moroccan chicken with chickpeas & cumin’ and ‘Chicken + noodles with red peppers’.

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Something you’ll get with Ella’s Kitchen is a vast range of flavours and a variety of products including finger foods, yoghurts, breakfast foods and more. Generally, the 4+month pouches are around £0.90-1.10 each, while the 6 and 7+month pouches are around £1.50. The smaller ones may not seem too expensive to begin with, but when your baby is having a pouch a day, the cost adds up.

A good thing about Ella’s Kitchen products is that they always seem to be on various multi-buy offers at supermarkets. If not, it’s worth waiting until they are (if you can!) and buying quite a few to keep you going for a while.

Piccolo

Admittedly, I’d never heard of this brand before having Raife. But Piccolo were kind enough to send us over 20 pouches to try out.

I should point out that although Piccolo sent us these free of charge, I am under no obligation to give them a positive review.

The first thing I noticed was the packaging and how it completely contrasted with Ella’s Kitchen. Ella’s Kitchen looks 100% looks like a children’s brand. Whereas I’m not so sure Piccolo does. It has childlike qualities, but also something that appeals to parents, as well. And I like that.

The brand is focused on the Mediterranean, and you can definitely tell from the flavours on offer. Even the most basic ‘first taste’ flavours are more interesting that Ella’s Kitchen’s. ‘Mango, pear & kale’, ‘Sweet potato, beetroot, apple & pear’, and ‘Kale, kiwi, pears & pear’ are all among those first basic purees.

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I should point out that Ella’s Kitchen claims their ‘first taste’ flavours are suitable from four months, whereas Piccolo’s start from six months.

We could tell almost straight away that Raife enjoyed the Piccolo pouches a lot more than any solid food we’d given him so far. His face lit up after every spoonful – something that hasn’t happened with any other brand so far.

Piccolo’s earlier stage purees are similarly priced to Ella’s Kitchen at around £0.90-1.10, but from what we’ve seen, the 6 and 7+month plus pouches are a tiny bit more expensive at around £1.60. And one downside is that we’re yet to see Piccolo pouches on a multi-buy offer at our local supermarket.

However, given how much Raife enjoys them, it’s one of those ‘worth paying for things’.

Mamia (Aldi’s own)

If you’re not part of the Aldi revolution, why not?!

Over the past few years, Aldi has won countless awards for its products, particularly its baby products. We converted to Mamia nappies a little while ago – they probably aren’t quite as good as the Pampers ones we were buying, but they are around half the price. You can’t argue with that!

And it’s a similar story when it comes to their purees. They’re probably not as tasty as the Ella’s Kitchen or Piccolo ones – yes, we taste them! (And Raife doesn’t seem to enjoy them quite as much). And there’s certainly a smaller range in flavours. I stocked up yesterday and there were only four flavours to choose from for 6+months, which I’m sure will be quite dull for Raife.

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Image: Lamb & Bear

But, the big selling point is that they’re almost a third of the price of Ella’s Kitchen and even more compared to Piccolo. Regularly 55p each, they were even reduced to 49p yesterday. You can’t argue with that either. Based on Raife eating one pouch a day, Mamia pouches would cost us around £15 a month. Ella’s Kitchen and Piccolo would cost around £45 (excluding multi-buy offers). That’s a big, big saving, especially for families on a tight budget.

Each of these can easily stake a strong claim to being your baby food pouch of choice. So much so that we’re currently buying a combination. The majority are Mamia for the cost, but we bring in both Ella’s Kitchen and Piccolo now and again to give Raife some variety in what he’s eating.

What do you give your baby? Let me know in the comments!

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