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Somerset based Truuly Scrumptious creators talk to Malcolm Rigby about producing organic baby food

PUBLISHED: 20:23 17 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:04 20 February 2013

Topsy Fogg (left) and Janice Fisher are helped in the kitchen by their children

Topsy Fogg (left) and Janice Fisher are helped in the kitchen by their children

It used to be an accepted truism that baby food was pretty bland and rather unpalatable. You might put some on your tongue to check the temperature but you wouldn't go much further than that. Times have changed. There's a company based just outsid...

Somerset based Truuly Scrumptious creators talk to Malcolm Rigby about producing organic baby food





Topsy Fogg and Janice Fisher met at antenatal classes. They had their babies within a day of each other and continued to be friends. When it came to the weaning stage they started developing some recipes together, and such was their success, that other friends who had gone back to work started to ask if they would cook the recipes for them. At the time you could buy baby food in jars but fresh or frozen was just not available. Inspiration struck and in 2001 Truuuly Scrumptious (www.bathorganicbabyfood.co.uk) was born.


From the outset their skills complemented each other, as Topsy explains: "I was a nanny so I'd had past experience of weaning various babies and what foods to give them, and my business partner had a food background, having worked for various food companies."


Before production of organic, healthy and scrumptious baby food could begin, a unit on a local farm was converted to provide kitchen, office and crche facilities. The women then went cold-calling with sample pots, firstly to nearby farm shops, and then to London to approach the capital's independents. Now the business supplies more than 60 different outlets as well as offering a nationwide delivery service.




"The key is to give a variety of different tastes to help your baby not to be a fussy eater as it gets older"




As the demand grew they realised they wouldn't be able to handle the production. "We approached a company in Wales who cook food for the NHS, and they also make food for people with swallowing difficulties, so they're able to do the textures that we need," says Topsy. "We needed to find someone who understood the different textures for the different stages of weaning, as well as producing good food."


There are currently 26 meals in the Truuuly Scrumptious range and a further eight in the new Alfie's Deli brand. This was developed last year to meet the demand of parents who had children with allergies, so there is no dairy, no gluten, no wheat, etc. However, this range is not organic as it was decided this would make the prices exorbitant.


"Although it's an allergy-free product," says Topsy, "babies without allergies can eat it too. So it's a case of getting parents round to the idea that you can use it in addition to the Truuuly Scrumptious range, and it does taste as good as the other baby food. We did the Allergy Show and got a good response from that.


"We are more expensive than the jarred baby food but then it's a completely different product. There's a difference in the price but there's a difference in the quality as well."


And they must be doing something right because their shelves are groaning with trophies. "We've won one food award for every year that we've been trading," says Topsy. "In our first year we won an organic food award from the Soil Association (www.soilassociation.org) in the baby food category, and we were up against Heinz and all the big names, so it was a real achievement. We won it again in 2004, and we've won Taste of the West awards (www.tasteofthewest.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=23&Itemid=86) as well over the years. For our rice pudding we got gold last year, and they asked us to submit further samples and we got best chilled and frozen dessert, and that was up against luxury ice creams - adult food!"


The company's success led to them being approached about a recipe book. And just a couple of months ago 'The Truuuly Scrumptious Book of Organic Baby Pures' (www.rbooks.co.uk/product.aspx?id=0091922054) was published.


The volume contains more than 80 recipes, but there's plenty more information besides: "Like what sorts of food to choose for your baby, how to source food locally and why to choose organic," says Topsy. "There are also chapters on weaning, when to wean and what foods are best to start on."


The recipes and tips attempt to show how, by choosing good quality ingredients and following simple recipes, parents can provide their baby with a wide range of flavours which will encourage them to try new foods as they progress through childhood.


"A really unusual ingredient that people don't normally think of is butternut squash. It's a lovely, highly nutritious vegetable for babies, and once it's pured it's got a wonderful smooth buttery taste. In the book we've used curly kale a few times. Again, it's extremely nutritious, but people don't use it an awful lot. Really, the key is to give a variety of different tastes to help your baby not to be a fussy eater as it gets older."


At the end of last year Janice decided to pull out of the business to spend more time at home with her family. Topsy said it was a bit scary on her own at first but she now has help in the office and feels quite comfortable. The future is to get into more independents and perhaps try exporting.


Meanwhile she and Janice are already gathering recipes for a second book. As the first focused on weaning and baby food, so the second will be orientated towards toddlers and older children. BY MALCOLM RIGBY


Discover more about Truuuly Scrumptious at www.bathorganicbabyfood.co.uk or call 01761 239300.



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