Babies as young as six months can get a taste for the finer things in life with gourmet meals curated and prepared by South-West winery Wills Domain’s culinary director Jed Gerrard.
JUCA, a luxury baby food company, was born 18 months ago after its founders Justine Conley and Paul Cavanagh saw a gap in the market for premium baby food.
It’s hard to believe little taste buds can appreciate such delicacies as wild-caught salmon, hemp seed oil and Australian native parsley, but the Mt Lawley-based couple say JUCA’s philosophy is all about training a child’s palate from a young age.
“Children’s palates can accept and understand and appreciate a wide variety of flavours from the outset,” Ms Conley said.
“The different flavours (of pouches) have a different profile on a spectrum of flavours so that they are getting introduced to a real breadth of flavours from the outset.
“Research shows that it can sometimes take up to eight to 10 times for a child to learn to like a new flavour, but persistence is really important.
“The reason we’ve created this range is to get those savoury flavours in their mouths as early as possible.”
With a combined skillset of the couple’s knowledge of marketing and Gerrard’s experience as a chef in Michelin-starred restaurants, the trio spent 15 months combining, trialling and testing different flavours to produce six recipes.
“We did a big taste test with Jed where we tasted basically every single baby food brand on the market,” Ms Conley said.
“We sort of ranked them in terms of different flavour profiles, what the main ingredients were (and) if it was overly sweet, then that gave us a benchmark that we knew we wanted to exceed.”
The team says each recipe can be produced at a commercial quantity without losing its integrity, flavour and quality.
“There’s been a lot of trials and taste tests and working with accredited partners to make sure that we follow all the right food safety standards that are required,” Mr Cavanagh said.
“It’s important that we get this right.”
Gerrard used “ethical, natural ingredients” to create JUCA’s six savoury recipes.
“My inspiration for the different flavour profiles for the recipes was to showcase really beautiful, healthy, local produce using lots of vegetables as well as incorporating subtle hints of native herbs,” he said.
While Ms Conley and Mr Cavanagh’s children are no longer babies, the couple consulted them on the recipes, who gave them the tick of approval.
“It’s sort of interesting that sometimes people will say that baby food tastes or smells disgusting, but then we’re happy to give it to our children,” Ms Conley said.
“We’re getting the feedback from parents to say that this tastes and smells really delicious.
“We can personally vouch for that as well.”
The gourmet taste does not come cheap: JUCA’s signature collection of 12 baby pouches will set you back $69 — almost $6 per pouch — whereas Woolies has pouches for $1.80 each and Amazon has a pack of six for $10.80.
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