Once Upon A Farm, a US-based and venture capital firm-backed infant food company is using market-disrupting technology to make a name for itself as a sustainable and transparent food manufacturer. Founded in January 2016, Once Upon A Farm is supported by S2G Ventures — an Illinois and California-based venture capital firm whose focus is amplifying businesses with a passion for agricultural longevity, ethical sourcing, and local ingredients from the United States. The firm has risen to fame over the past decade for successful investments in now commonplace food outlets like Sweetgreen, Ripple, and Territory Foods, among others.
Once Upon A Farm was founded by parents, meaning they understand the scrutiny with which caregivers select their young ones’ food. Baby food is often plant-based (mashed fruits and vegetables serving as the backbone of many meals), but Once Upon A Farm was the first company to use high-pressure processing (HPP) to manufacture their foods.
HPP is a cold-pressurization technique that locks nutrients in place, preventing their deterioration or expiration. This allows Once Upon A Farm to use freshly selected ingredients sourced from sustainable farms without the worry of spoilage. As HPP elongates the lifespan of their products, they are able to be more transparent with their ingredients than most baby food manufacturers who include additives that the companies may not be keen on advertising.
“Our consumers know how much we care about our impact through the work that we do,” Co-Founder and CEO John Foraker told Forbes, “the more transparent we are about our goals and our work, the easier it is for them to make decisions that are best for themselves and their families.”
The organic company’s product offerings span the gambit, from fruit and veggie blends to overnight oats — and of course, baby food. While their bread and butter is their infant food, the individually packaged food is enjoyable for everyone from “babies to big kids,” their site reads.
At their founding, the products were only available at brick-and-mortar grocery providers like Whole Foods and Krogers. Over the years e-commerce has become the burgeoning norm, and Once Upon A Farm has adopted a successful and far more accessible sales plan: subscription boxes.
By cutting out the middleman of large chain grocery stores, the business is able to deliver even fresher products, direct to consumers, with discounted prices up to 18 percent when customers opt to receive personalized boxes month over month. On top of it all, Once Upon A Farm has shifted from a traditional limited liability company (LLC) to a public benefit corporation (PBC). The change required the company to document its statement of purpose with respect to the public good, as opposed to a normal, for-profit corporation whose purpose is assumed to be revenue generation.
“Transitioning into a PBC was a natural step for us because the benefit corporation model is more aligned with our overall goals, which extend well beyond traditional for-profit aims,” Foraker remarked. The company’s guiding tenants are listed as follows:
- “We believe in driving improvements daily in childhood nutrition for a healthier and happier planet.
- We commit to a portfolio of products and an innovation pipeline that leads in how we approach access, nutrient excellence, and changing the fresh snacking marketplace.
- We’re working across industry on recyclability initiatives and investing in renewable energy sources while continuing to implement improved sustainability measures across the organization.
- We support and champion farmers, organic foods, sustainable agriculture, and community engagement.”
The company reports all metrics to an independent, third-party reviewer who assures adherence with social and environmental standards worthy of the seal of sustainability approval.
“We look forward to continuing to advance our mission of providing organic, crave-worthy, refrigerated snacks for children of all ages, the CEO stated, “while holding ourselves accountable for creating a better tomorrow for everyone.”