“Right now, the baby food category is primarily fruits. If you go out there, you will see fruits in almost every pouch. … So, the white space we fill is we [have] no sugary fruits. So, we are healthy, ethically sourced meats, mixed with veggies and then some oil,” company co-founder Serenity Carr said.
She explained that incorporating meat and fat into babies’ diets is important because “every bite counts when you are feeding a little, tiny baby. Every parent knows that squeezing one bite in is a success and you want that bite to have as many nutrients as possible. And babies’ stomachs and digestive systems are particularly suited to digesting meat and fats, and that is what we put in our baby food.”
At Natural Products Expo East in Baltimore this month, the company expanded its line of baby foods with the launch of a grassfed bison with kabocha squash and spinach, which won a Nexty award, and a free range turkey mixed with beet and pumpkin. Existing products included grassfed and finished beef mixed with sweet potato and kale, free range chicken with organic peas and carrots, uncured pastured bacon mixed with butternut squash and kale, and wild caught salmon with butternut squash and beets.
Overcoming adversity to fuel fast growth
When the brand first launched last August it experienced some pushback against the idea, but the company’s rapidly expanding distribution over the past 12 months and 45% growth over the summer since Wild Ventures invested, shows that the vast majority of consumers are eagerly embracing the concept.
Initially, “people thought because there is no meat on the aisle … babies didn’t need meat,” or they thought the idea of pureed meat in a pouch was “yucky,” but the reality is most companies don’t add meat to their baby foods because it is expensive to source and process, Carr said.
The company focused on delivering this message, as well as the health benefits of a high fat, high protein diet for babies, on its website where it sold its pouches for the first six months. After that it landed global distribution at Whole Foods which, Carr said, “really boosted up our awareness and we started teaching parents more about feeding meat and high fat diets to babies, and the danger of to much fruit in the diet.”
In response, velocity and distribution continued to grow so that now the company is in 1,000 stores and in talks with “some of the big major retailers,” Carr said.
Looking forward, she said, the company hopes to launch additional SKUs in 2020 and has its eyes on products aimed at slightly older children and toddlers.
[Editor's note: Discover more about how the children's and baby food aisles are evolving, including new manufacturing techniques, formats and recipes at FoodNavigator-USA's Food For Kids Summit in Chicago this Fall. Get all the details here.]
Support for regenerative farming
Serenity Kids is not only deeply focused on providing products that are healthy for children, it also wants them to be healthy for the planet, which is why it is sourcing its ingredients from regenerative farmers.
“We are working to help reverse climate change by partnering with sustainable, regenerative farmers. So, our salmon is wild caught in the Virgin Bay of Alaska, our pork is pastured, which is hard to find … we have grass-fed and grass-finished beef and bison and then we have free-range turkey and chicken. And so we are working with the farmers that are doing it right, that are regenerating and improving the soil on the farms where they raise their animals,” she said.
She explained that soon the company will be telling the story of those farmers and how it sources its ingredients on its packaging and website, because as Carr notes, parents want to know where the food they feed their children comes from.