Consumer IQ

Baby Food Breakdown: Store-Bought Vs. Homemade

Baby food; Carrot Baby Pap

I’m a die-hard do-it-yourselfer, and that includes making my own baby food. (I don’t sew my own nappies, but I do use cloth diapers.)

I really enjoy making my own baby food, but what I really want to know is if it’s actually saving me money.

Here is a cost comparison of making your own baby food and buying it, for both organic and non-organic food.

I use a regular pot to boil my daughter’s fruit and veggies. I puree them in the blender or a Beaba Babycook Baby Food Maker that a friend lent me. I use a small amount of water when I cook the food and then incorporate it during the blending stage so nutrients aren’t left behind.

FYI: A little goes a long way — too much water makes runny food.

One surprising fact I discovered is that the price of store-bought baby food is consistent across the board, which makes it easy to calculate how much it will cost you.

On the flipside, produce prices vary widely depending on season and what region of the country you live in.

So, to get an average cost for making your own baby food for this little experiment, I calculated the per-serving cost for a variety of fruits and vegetables and then averaged the group.

Here’s what I found:

Store-Bought Organic

A 4-ounce jar of Gerber organic baby food costs $1.39 at my local grocer, no matter the flavor. If my daughter eats two ounces at each meal, the per-serving cost is $.69.

Store-Bought Non-Organic

A 4-ounce jar of Gerber baby food costs $1.05 at my local grocer, for any flavor. She gets two meals out of one jar, so the per-serving cost is $.53.

Homemade Organic

A one pound bag of organic carrots costs $1.29 per pound at my local grocer. Two carrots, or $.37 of the bag, cook down to three servings of food. That means each serving costs me $.12.

An organic bunch of broccoli runs $5.41 and the three crowns in the bunch produced 11 servings, or $.49 per serving.

One organic apple, at $2.49 per pound, costs $1.59. Two of them make three servings for $1.06 per serving.

My baby is a big fan of sweet potatoes. An organic sweet potato costs $1.50 and makes eight servings, or $.19 per serving.

A 32-ounce bag of organic brown rice costs $3.19 and makes 48 servings of rice cereal, or $.06 per serving.

On average, the cost of a two ounce serving of homemade organic baby food is $.38.

Homemade Non-Organic

A two pound bag of carrots (containing 18 carrots) costs $1.99. Two carrots makes three servings of food. That means each serving costs me $.07.

A bunch of broccoli runs me $3.64. The three crowns in the bunch produce about 11 servings, or $.33 per serving.

Two Fuji apples, at $1.39 per pound, cost me $1.77. They make three servings of baby food, which costs me $.59 per serving.

One sweet potato costs $1.29/pound, or about $1 per sweet potato. Each one makes eight servings. So each serving costs $.12.

A 32 ounce bag of brown rice costs $2.49 and makes 48 servings, or $.05 per serving.

On average, the per-serving cost of homemade non-organic baby food is $.23.

The Baby Food Breakdown

  • Store-bought organic – $.69 per serving
  • Store-bought non-organic – $.53 per serving
  • Homemade organic – $.38 per serving
  • Homemade non-organic – $.23 per serving

Homemade organic is nearly 45% cheaper than store-bought organic. And homemade non-organic is almost 43% cheaper than store-bought non-organic.

My daughter is up to four servings a day and she’s only seven months old, so by making my own baby food, I’m currently saving $1.20 per day, or $438 per year.

The more she eats, the more I save!

And if time is money, it’s important to factor in how long it takes me to cook and puree my own baby food. So, in about an hour I can make all her food for the week.

Did you make your own baby food?

Julia Scott founded the money and coupon blog, BargainBabe.com.