As an organic brand, Once Upon a Farm aims to introduce kids to healthy foods earlier in life to establish their eating habits for later in life. Its new tagline — “A Better Story Starts Here” — seeks to capture this mission.
CEO John Foraker, who is the former head of kid-friendly brand Annie’s, told Food Dive in a 2018 interview that he founded Once Upon a Farm with actress Jennifer Garner and others to increase the availability of organic food to all, especially to low-income children. Since its launch in 2018, the company has intended on building a brand for kids up to about age 12, but spent its first years developing its baby and toddler line, which today includes fruit and vegetable blends, smoothies and overnight oats in squeezable packaging.
But now it hopes to ramp up its organic expertise in snacks for older children.
“When we launched, we wanted to change the baby category, but we’ve seen consumer demand shift and now it’s so much bigger,” said Foraker in a statement. “We are helping lead the way for an entirely new category: all around Fresh Snacking. We felt the time was ripe to reimagine our branding and packaging to reflect this evolution.” Today, its kids options include dairy-free coconut whips, yogurts, and fruit and vegetable smoothies.
While children’s diets have gotten better in the past 20 years, parents are still trying to offer healthier alternatives to junk food. Since the beginning of the pandemic, parents have preferred more organic and low-sugar foods for their kids, according to a report from the International Food Information Council (IFIC). About 40% of parents are avoiding sugary drinks for their kids, even those with natural sugar substitutes, the study says.
The brand’s refresh is also calling out its use of USDA certified organic and Non-GMO Project Verified ingredients, with no sugar added.
Food targeted at children isn’t necessarily an easy sell; brands have relied on colors, shapes, and cartoons to grab the attention of both kids and their parents. Once Upon a Farm has introduced farm illustrations as part of its brand refresh, which includes fresh fruits, vegetables, animals and a Farmer Jen character who is inspired by co-founder and Chief Brand Officer Jennifer Garner.
Once Upon a Farm is making this shift into children’s offerings as the baby food space is seeing massive growth. In 2019, the global infant nutrition market was worth $67.3 billion, and as is slated to be worth just under $100 billion by 2027, according to Statistia. With its organic focus, Once Upon a Farm is competing with well-established brands like Gerber and Campbell Soup Co., maker of Plum Organics, as well as Chobani and Ingenuity Brands, which created the Brainiac Kids line to help foster brain development.
Getting into the kids’ snack business could be the best way for Once Upon a Farm to start this brand refresh on a strong note. A study from Amplify Snack Brands Inc. and the Center for Generational Kinetics shows that millennial moms have increased influence on their kids; 69% said their kids understand that some snacks are healthier than others, and 55% are more likely to choose a healthy snack when given the option.
Its subscription service can help Once Upon a Farm further differentiate itself. Food delivery is a rapidly growing space: Imperfect Foods, for example, has signed up 350,000 members and attracted $500 million in revenue since its launch five years ago.