NIHR Obesity Policy Research Unit at UCL


Households' purchasing of formula, toddler drinks and baby food


Quantification of purchasing of different types of formula, toddler drinks and baby foods (using Kantar data)


The proposed study will provide a comprehensive descriptive overview of UK infant formula, baby drinks, baby finger food and baby food purchases to investigate the purchasing patterns of caregivers in the current UK market. 


The first 1000 days of a child’s life establishes the foundation for healthy dietary patterns and reduces risk for obesity later in life. There is a lack of evidence on the diet and nutritional intake of the UK infant population that can help to inform public health efforts aimed at improving infant and toddler diets.

Aims and methodology

The aim of this work is to provide a detailed descriptive analysis of households’ purchases of formula, baby drinks, baby finger food and baby food and how, if at all, these purchases are related to one another. In particular we will describe: 

  • The products and brands that are purchased 
  • The quantity of different products purchased  
  • How purchases of one product (e.g. infant formula) are related to subsequent purchases (e.g. follow on formula or commercial infant food), e.g. are mothers who use formula also more likely to buy commercial infant food? We will also examine how these purchasing patterns vary by demographic group. 

In each case, we will look at both aggregate purchasing patterns and how these patterns vary by demographic group. 

We will use data from Kantar Worldpanel for the period October 2016 - July 2020, containing details of households’ purchases of infant formula, baby drinks, baby finger food and baby food over that period. At any one point in time there are around 30,000 households in the sample and the data contain details of the products purchased by households including brand and accurately-measured prices. 

We will use the data to provide a descriptive analysis of households’ purchases, providing tables and charts that are informative of correlations in the data.  


  • Report expected December 2020.