Starting to wean your baby but don't have time to puree veges - fear not, a new range of first solids with a culinary twist can now be delivered right to your front door.

Food-lover Maja Lee discovered very few organic options for her daughter, now 18-months old, so she decided to make her own to help to help busy parents.

Lee says she was disappointed at the lack of choice in organic and natural food when her daughter Valentina, now 18 months, first began solids so she'd decided to make her own to help other busy parents.

"I just found that there was a real lack of fresh food for babies in the New Zealand market, and was really kind of quite perplexed as to why that was," she said.


Next weekend she will launch Foodie Babe, a range of organic baby foods based on delicious and healthy homemade recipes, at the Baby Show in Auckland.

A Croatian-Kiwi, Lee loved to cook and decided to fill the gap in the market, coming up with 11 baby food recipes "with a culinary twist" of herbs and spices for babies from 4 months old to 12-months plus.

Stage one includes parsnip and thyme, carrot and coriander, broccoli and garlic, courgette and mint and kumara and turmeric purees.

Stage two - bumps not lumps - features apple, pumpkin seed and nutmeg oats with spiced carrots and beets, as well as super greens with roasted chicken, both from seven months.

Stage three - chomping with some chunks - includes apple and vanilla oats with berry and chia seed puree, and creamy vege orzo with roasted salmon, from 10 months.

Stage four, for 12 months-plus, includes slow cooked vege and lentil stew, and homemade vege broth.

Next year she will launch a range for toddlers.

The 100gram and 150g meal tubs, ranging in price from $3.50 to $8, will be delivered on a subscription basis but Lee said pick-ups from her Grey Lynn home are welcome and no minimum order is required.


"It's ready to eat, handmade and snap frozen in deluxe insulated bags."

She hopes to extend around the country as demand increases and eventually to export internationally.

The food range has been in the making for more than a year beginning with international research by Lee to understand the needs and wants of parents and their offspring.

From there she worked up a business plan, developed a food control plan, worked with a paediatric dietician and nutritionists as well as food safety consultants, delved into research on vegetables as first foods with a couple of university professors, got brand ambassadors and taste testers on board, and bought a commercial blast chiller.

Maja Lee with her 18 month old girl Valentina Lee. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Maja Lee with her 18 month old girl Valentina Lee. Photo / Jason Oxenham

"This is not just a flash in the pan. I'm regulated by the Ministry for Primary Industries and they've endorsed my food control plan."

The philosophy behind the business is about targeting palate training, Lee said.

"We'll be the first baby food business in New Zealand to actually offer vegetables as first foods. We don't offer fruit until stage two. That's basically so that babes don't get a preference for sweet flavours."

She will also be the first approved to manufacture commercial baby food from her home kitchen.

"I was very determined to do this and I see a real need, to help and support parents and be able to give them choice.

"I also wanted to pass on that food passion to my little girl and give her and appreciation of fresh, real, healthy food."

The Baby Show event manager Brigitta Rennie said there had been a big increase in natural and organic exhibitors this year with seven stands out of the total 220.

They included chemical free and environmentally friendly cleaning products, and an organic baby skincare range as well as a keynote speaker on reusable cloth nappies.

The Baby Show runs from August 18-20 at the ASB Showgrounds at Greenlane.

Other exhibitors to watch our for

• Project Nursery's Mum + Bub Smartband. From pregnancy onward, track foetal movements, doctor's appointments and more. Once baby arrives, forget about handwritten notes in the middle of the night. The Smartband provides feeding time reminders, weight monitoring, and tracks mum's health and wellness. Includes tracking module, blush, grey, black bands, micro usb cable, quickstart guide, keepsake box.

• Sleepytot New Zealand's Glow Dreaming sleep aid is an ultrasonic vapouriser, night light and white noise all in one. The vapouriser uses ultrasonic waves to create air moisture to combat the drying effects of heating and air-conditioning but without dampness. The vapouriser makes breathing easier for children who snore, have asthma or get sick often. At the same time it provides a night light and emits white noise.

• Trinity's Swimwear for children aged 2 to 14. Trinity is a 13-year-old girl from Mangawhai who enlists the help of her family to create modest togs and bikinis for toddlers to teens from recycled fabric. Some of the togs are reversible and the fabric is made from recovered fishing nets from the sea by a non profit organisation whose volunteer divers are helping to clean up the ocean.