These squeezable, refillable pouches are a convenient option for kids’ food on the go. Which pouch prevailed?
Published Sept. 20, 2018.
In the past few years, a new product has emerged in the baby food market: the squeezable food pouch. With small spouts and twist-off caps, these lightweight pouches are tidier than using a spoon and convenient for babies and young kids to eat on the go. Supermarkets sell many baby and toddler foods in pouch form; we tested reusable pouches that parents can fill with the food of their choice and serve fresh or freeze for later use.
There are two styles of reusable pouches: thin plastic pouches sold in sets and thicker silicone models shaped like squeeze bottles and sold individually. All were described as suitable for children as young as 6 months old. We bought six brands, priced from $0.99 to $13.99 per pouch, with capacities from 4 to 7 ounces each. We tested how easy they were to fill, use, and clean and whether they retained stains or odors. Since drops and spills happen, we also examined how durable they were and whether they leaked. Finally, we sent the pouches home with America’s Test Kitchen staffers to use with their children, who ranged from 7 months to 5 years old.
A good baby food pouch should be easy to fill. We tested ours with thin applesauce; thick, fibrous sweet potato puree; and bold-colored beet puree. Some companies recommended using a funnel, but all claimed that their pouches could be filled without extra equipment. So we tried using a spoon and, if that was too difficult or messy, we used a funnel.
The four plastic pouches are designed similarly. Each has two parts: a thin, stiff plastic body with a hard plastic spout attached and a screw-on cap. There’s also a zipper-lock opening, either on the bottom or side of the pouch. The soft silicone models, on the other hand, were designed more like baby bottles and had four or five pieces. Since these models have just one opening, they are filled and cleaned through the neck of the bottle.
Overall, our testers found that the plastic models were much easier to fill. Parents reported that adding food to the “floppy” silicone pouches was more difficult: Trying to hold one of these models steady, one of our parent testers accidentally squeezed it, “causing an applesauce volcano to erupt.” These pouches also had small openings, just 0.75 or 1.25 inches wide, which added to the challenges: “I had to keep cleaning the mouth of the pouch as the applesauce dripped over,” reported one tester. “It took forever to fill.”
By contrast, the plastic pouches had zipper-lock-style openings ranging from 3 to 5.85 inches wide—plenty of room to neatly spoon in purees. Our favorite was even designed to stand up on its own, ...
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Carolyn is a senior editor for ATK Reviews. She's a French-trained professional baker.