Once Upon a Farm HPP baby food

From niche to mainstream: Catching up with Once Upon a Farm

Six questions with Cassandra Curtis, one of the masterminds behind the rapidly growing fresh baby food brand with "a whole new line of innovation" in the works.

It’s been just over a year since we talked to Once Upon a Farm about the company's journey to bring HPP to the baby food sector. A lot has changed for this fast-growing company: John Foraker, of Annie’s fame, and actress Jennifer Garner came on board in September. The company's products are now in thousands of stores, compared with 500 or so this time last year. It's a Certified B Corp. And the concept of refrigerating baby food is catching on, making the company a leader rather than an anomaly.

We caught up with co-founder and COO Cassandra Curtis to hear more about these developments. Here's what she had to say.

On the question of placement and merchandising: "We’re still trying to figure that out. Right now, we’re primarily being merchandised in the dairy set, next to the kids’ yogurt. But what we’re seeing is that the more companies that are coming out with fresh baby and kids’ yogurts, the stores are actually wanting to build out fresh kids sets in their dairy set."

On sales: "Right now, retail is responsible for most of our sales, but direct to consumer definitely is a chunk of our business, both through our own website and through Amazon. We’re in thousands of stores, compared with about 500 a year ago, with a lot of that growth having taken place in just the last three months. We’re also going to be in Whole Foods national starting in July, and obviously with the Whole Foods-Amazon integration, that’s going to open up opportunities for us to partner with Amazon in different ways."

On pouch recycling: "We partner with TerraCycle. Customers can request an envelope, for free, and they can send all their pouches to TerraCycle, where they get upcycled into other products. They could be made into building structures or chairs or toothbrushes. We are always actively working on ways to be more sustainable. Having the first 100 percent recyclable or compostable pouch—we’re still evaluating the available options—is something we’re in conversations on."

On bestsellers: "The most consistently bestselling SKUs are the 7-month-plus items—the Mama Bear Blueberry, Wild Rumpus Avocado and the Oh My Mega Veggie."

On what's coming up: "We’re releasing kids’ cold-pressed smoothies in a few weeks, and we have three Tots SKUs that will be available also in May. We have a whole new line of innovation coming in January 2019 that I can’t talk about yet, but it’s going to be really exciting."

On what John Foraker and Jennifer Garner bring to the company: "We just had Jen and John do the keynote speech at Expo West and just got a lot of people excited about her joining the company and taking a stand for organic as well. We’re actually going to be using her family farm, and growing some of the ingredients that we’ll be using in some of our recipes on her farm. Consumers have been really receptive and excited."

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