This August, Serenity Kids will launch a first-of-its kind baby food inspired by the paleo diet that, according to the company co-founders, has the highest meat content of any pouched baby food.
Serenity Heegel, who co-founded the company with her fiancé Joe Carr, explained that as avid paleo followers the two were shocked when they started planning for their own family to learn that there were no paleo baby foods.
“I just couldn’t believe that nothing existed that would be something I would want to feed my own baby,” Heegel said.
So, she launched in to a “summer of nerdome” where she researched in-depth the ideal nutrition for young children and what was available on the market. She discovered that breast milk, which is half fat, almost half carbs and a “little bit of protein” was “nature’s perfect food for infants.”
But a review of the 250 organic, pouched baby foods available on the market conducted by Heegel and Carr revealed almost none were high fat and only 4% had meat. Rather, most were made with high-sugar fruit bases that Heegel said she did not want to feed her child.
Reading a book called ‘Inventing Baby Food,’ Heegel said she discovered this wasn’t always the case. In the 1940s and 1950s, there were “tons” of canned baby food options with meat, but that over time they fell out of favor because they “kind of seemed gross to most adults,” and because they were expensive compared to pureed fruits and vegetables.
It was for these reasons the duo decided to fill the market gap and create a high-fat, high-quality meat-based baby food line.
“We have three different flavors that we are launching with: our chicken and pea with carrot, which is certified organic and it's free-range chicken; and then we have our 100% grass fed, grass finished beef with organic sweet potato and organic kale; and then we have our pastured uncured bacon that has organic butternut squash and organic kale, all of which hare in shelf-stable, 4-ounce pouches,” Heegel said.
She added that the recipes are all low-sugar and mimic the macro-nutrient balance of breast milk, to help give children a properly balanced diet.
Beyond just paleo, the products are also allergen-friendly and are certified as grain-, soy- and gluten-free.
“One of the other things we really wanted to do was to focus on allergens, which are a really big thing with autistic kids, for example, and a lot of kids in general. So, this way parents will have another choice,” Heegel said.
A strong start
Sales of the product, which won’t begin shipping until later this month, already are off to a strong start with the brand pre-selling 60 cases on the first day it began taking orders in May. That momentum continued so that as of early August the company had pre-sold 400 cases, or 1,800 pouches before the brand even launched.
The rush of early orders demonstrates that high need for paleo products for young children, Heegel said. It also illustrates the passionate loyalty paleo followers offer brands who help meet their dietary needs.
Carr said much of the early success can be attributed to exposure paleo-influencers gave the product on social media – a strategy he says the brand will continue to follow when the product begins shipping.
“Our goal is to make just a massive splash in the industry and really make our presence known, because we know that someone will copy us sooner rather than later and so we want to make sure we get as much of that market space as possible so that people at least know when they copy us, who they are copying,” Carr said.
With that in mind, he said the company will initially sell online but hopes to be in national grocery chains within a year, or at the very least be in the process of being stocked.
He added that he hopes a side-benefit of the launch will be to raise awareness about the need for high-fat baby food and to start a discussion about why only 4% of baby food has meat “when meat is so important.”