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The Organic Baby Food Wars Heat Up

It’s a good time to be a baby. It’s also a great time to be a parent who wants to ensure that his or her baby is consuming healthy foods but doesn’t necessarily have the wherewithal to prepare homemade baby food or delicately seasoned purées.

While some established names in the business have increasingly focused on improving their prepared baby foods — including by using pouches, employing more attractive packaging, and listing the specific percentage of each ingredient in its products — a spate of new startups is now aggressively competing for their pint-size end users.

On Monday, John Foraker, the former CEO of organic food brand Annie’s Homegrown, officially joined one of them as its CEO: two-year-old Once Upon a Farm, a maker of cold-pressed baby food that’s headquartered in San Diego.

The company — which reportedly generates less than $1 million in annual sales right now — is also teaming up with actress Jennifer Garner to help market its pouches, which are currently sold through its site, as well as at some Wegmans, Kroger’s, and Whole Foods Market stores.

Foraker has said he expects Once Upon a Farm to grow “big and fast into a highly disruptive force in the organic food space.”

Still, not only is the outfit going up against a number of bigger brands like Plum Organics, Beech-Nut, Earth’s Best, and Ella’s Kitchen, but all are facing competition from startups that are making organic baby food and delivering it to users’ doorsteps.

We know of at least a dozen subscription-based companies to emerge in recent years with an eye toward taking a bite out of baby food market, which is sizable. According to recent statistics out of the research consultancy Zion Market Research, the global baby food market could reach as much as $76 billion by 2021.

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