Bringing Up Baby Organically
There's a new movement under way to go green – starting from the first days of life.
It's called "baby organics," and it's a growing movement among
parents of newborns to go green -- and we're not just talking
Indeed, the idea here is to not only fill your baby's tummy with organic
foods, but also everything from baby clothes and diapers to bedding, nursery
furniture, carpeting, and more.
And many parents are embracing the movement with gusto.
In a survey recently conducted by BabyCenter.com, a majority of the women
they talked to say having a baby was a powerful
catalyst for embracing the eco-friendly life. In its online store, BabyCenter
noted a 211% increase in the sales of eco-friendly products, including
At the same time, companies that manufacture natural cleaning products -
like Holy Cow - report their business is exploding with new moms looking to
keep the nursery spotless and chemical-free.
But beyond a doubt among the biggest eco splash is being made in the baby
food aisle. The Organic Trade Association reports a growth of more than 22% in
the organic food market overall, with sales reaching nearly 17 billion in 2006.
In published reports, Whole
Foods Market has reportedly tripled space allotted to organic baby foods,
while in 2006 Gerber replaced its Tender Harvest brand with a line called
Gerber Organics -- ostensibly in response to consumer demand.
Meanwhile, smaller baby food companies, like Plum Organics, Happy Baby, and
Home Made Baby (which provides organic Kosher baby food), have developed into
mini-empires, all thanks to the new trend of baby organics.
But does any of it really matter -- and is there any science to show that a
"green baby" is any healthier than the kid wearing drugstore diapers or
eating regular old peas and carrots from a jar?
For many the answers begin with the very definition of what is
What Does Going Green Really Mean?
In the food industry, the definition of what is considered organic is clear.
Indeed, since 2002, any food that carries that "certified organic"
label, must, in fact, be at least 95% organic, produced and processed without
conventional pesticides or other harmful chemicals, additives, or hormones.
Conversely, labels touting words like "natural," "free range,"
or "hormone-free" do not necessarily mean a food is produced
But when it comes to other, even more pricey organic products like diapers,
baby clothes, bedding, and furniture, the waters get a little murky. Indeed,
there are no established "organic" standards and no one to answer to
when false claims are made.
Moreover, some manufacturers slyly interchange the terms "organic" and
"natural" -- sometimes leading parents to assume something is safer
than it is. For example, bedding that is made from all cotton -- a natural
fabric -- can be labeled as "natural" -- but it can still be grown
using pesticides and processed using a variety of chemicals.