How big is the baby food industry

The Großmanns and their carrots

“Baby food is a difficult matter.” Stefan Großmann should know. For 25 years, the Hergoldinger carrots have been growing for the “Bebivita” brand, the jars of which are available from the DM drugstore chain, on almost 15 hectares. In controlled cultivation, not organic, even if the carrots from Stefan Großmann and his son Markus actually have to meet the same quality parameters. Specifically, it is primarily about limit values ​​for nitrate, pesticide residues and heavy metals, which have to go almost to zero. The latter are naturally in the arable land, but must not exceed the strict limit values ​​of the baby food industry.

The controls are correspondingly strict. Soil samples are taken and examined before cultivation, field controls are then carried out during the year, complete documentation of all measures is imperative and every single truck load that drives up to the well-known baby food manufacturer is in the laboratory for over an hour before unloading examined.

If the requirements are not met, which has also happened once with the Großmanns, this delivery has to be used for other purposes, usually as a beta-carotene cure for dairy cows. One man's meat is another man's suffering. Because the economic damage does not outweigh the spring fever in the cowshed.

Growing carrots for "Bebivita" is associated with a lot of manual labor for the Großmanns, as pesticides for weed control are only allowed to be used to a very limited extent. Another sensitive issue is storage. Babies don't ask about the time of year. Beta-carotene is needed 365 days and preferably fresh. In this country, the seeds are sown in April and harvested from the end of September to the end of October (the later the better). Then it goes to the new, ultra-modern cooling hall of the Großmanns, with a storage capacity of around 900 tons. From November to March, the carrots are waiting to be picked up in gigantic wooden boxes at exactly 0.7 degrees. This is extremely time-consuming, but the best that can happen to a carrot to stay crunchy.

With "Bebivita" - in order to keep peeling losses low - unusually large vegetable plants, called industrial goods, are processed in batches. That is to say: Whenever there is a need, the Großmanns have to deliver. And “industrial goods” because in the retail trade, more delicate, shapely plants are in demand. It's psychology, not a matter of taste. Thanks to Stefan and Markus Großmann, I was able to convince myself of this personally. We're still eating the carrot soup. With great joy.