Pouch Use & Exposure to Forms of Fruits and Vegetables

infographic of research findings titled Pouch use among infants does not impact exposure to other forms of fruits and vegetables: data from the Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS) 2016

Quick summary

This study examined baby food pouch usage and its influence on fruit and vegetable consumption among infants (6-11.9 months). About 32% of infants used pouches, but daily usage was infrequent. Pouch users consumed fruits and vegetables as often as non-users, indicating that pouches don't limit exposure to other produce forms. The study suggests that the impact of baby food pouches on infants' oral motor development is likely minimal.

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Baby food pouches have grown in popularity along with questions about their impact on oral motor development. Assumptions are that baby food pouches are a primary food source and that they limit exposure to fruits and vegetables in other forms.

Our aim was to determine how often infants from the Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS) 2016 used pouches and if those who used pouches were as likely to also consume other forms of fruits and vegetables as those who did not.


FITS is the largest nationally representative cross-sectional dietary survey of children aged 0-47.9 months in the U.S.

For this analysis, a questionnaire and 24-hour dietary recall were used to assess pouch use and fruit and vegetable intake among children aged 6-11.9 months (n=989). A “pouch user” was defined as a child receiving a pouch ≥ 1 time/week reported on the questionnaire. All others were categorized as “non-users.”

Fruits and vegetables were categorized as “baby food” if it was a commercial or homemade pureed fruit or vegetable or “non-baby food” if it was any other form of fruit or vegetable.

Descriptive statistics were tabulated for frequency of pouch use and percent of pouch users and non-users who consumed baby food and non-baby food fruits and vegetables.


Per the questionnaire, 32% of 6-11.9 month olds were pouch users (n=314) and 68% were non-users (n=675).

5% received food from a pouch daily (n=51), and 4% received food from a pouch more than once per day (n=40).

Per the 24 hour recall, the percentages of pouch users and non-users who consumed baby food fruits (54.3% vs. 50.4%) and vegetables (45% vs. 43.3%) in any packaging were similar.

More pouch users consumed non-baby food fruits and vegetables compared to non-users (54.3% vs. 36.5% and 49.2% vs. 37.4%, respectively).

Frequency of Pouch Consumption Among 6-11.9 Month Olds

frequency of pouch consumption among 6-11.9 month olds

Percentage of 6-11.9 Month Old Pouch Users and Non Users Consuming Fruits and Vegetables

percentage of 6-11.9 month old pouch users and non users consuming fruits and vegetables


Roughly a third of infants are pouch users, but daily use is uncommon.

Pouch users consume fruits and vegetables at least as often as non-users, so pouch use does not appear to limit exposure to other forms of produce.

Because infants who are exposed to baby food pouches are also exposed to other forms of fruits and vegetables, the impact of food pouches on oral motor development in infants is likely to be minimal.