Serenity Kids packages popular diet in pouches for a new market: food for babies, toddlers and kids aged 6 months to 5 years.
Solomon wrote that there’s nothing new under the sun. Baby food certainly isn’t new, nor are stand-up pouches, and its very name tells us that the trendy Paleo diet goes back millennia.
What if all three of those things were united in branded packaged form?
That would be something different, which is the distinction of Serenity Kids, a three-product line of baby foods formulated using pasture-raised meats and organic vegetables packaged 4-oz pouches.
With a low-sugar, high-fat formulation inspired by the Paleo diet and the macronutrient content of mother’s milk, the products claim to offer the highest meat content of any pouched baby food. The lineup includes Grass Fed Beef with Organic Kale and Sweet Potato, Free Range Chicken with Organic Peas and Carrots and Uncured Bacon with Organic Kale and Butternut Squash.
Co-founders Joe Carr, president, and Serenity Heegel, ceo, informed Packaging Digest that the expected 2017 summer launch of Serenity Kids was delayed until early 2018. However, with their plans and packaging set, we conducted a prelaunch interview with the entrepreneurial duo about their intriguing product.
What’s the intent of the package design?
Carr and Heegel: We wanted our packaging to have a classy and modern feel to stand out on the baby food aisle. We think our pouch graphics make it look like real, adult food rather than the cartoon style of most baby foods, which reflects our belief that children should be treated with respect and dignity.
We used images of the animals rather than pictures or drawings of meat to both show kids where their food comes from and to express reverence towards the animals. Animal rights is very important to us.
We used colors similar to the actual color of each animal because we want kids to correlate the packaging with the food inside. We chose bright, bold colors to be kid-friendly.
We chose not to represent the vegetables because our value proposition to customers is the well-sourced animal protein.
The graphics have a premium look, and the matte finish has a premium feel, which reflects the premium product inside.
Why use a pouch rather than another type of package?
Carr and Heegel: Pouches are the most popular baby food package with a growing market share. They’re lightweight and unbreakable. They also allow the baby to feed themselves, which also promotes our value of more autonomy for babies.
What’s on the back of the pouch?
Carr and Heegel: The back is primarily text required by regulations. We do emphasize the organic vegetables on the back because the meat is featured on the front. We also stress the premium sourcing of the meat plus important claims like Non-GMO, Gluten Free, Milk-Free, and Paleo.
Who’s your target consumer?
Carr and Heegel: We are marketing towards millennial parents, ages 18-35, and to some extent, their children aged 6 months to 5 years. These parents want to feed their kids the healthiest possible foods, but don’t have tons of time to make their kids meals from scratch. Our product combines the healthiest food with a convenient, shelf-stable pouch. Also, millennials tend to distrust larger brands, so standing out as very different makes us more trustworthy.
Can you credit the designer and the pouch supplier?
Carr and Heegel: We are happy to credit both! Trina Bentley of Make & Matter did beautifully on the design. We chose Trina because of her work with other products similar to ours, most notably Epic Provisions.
We selected Mondi KSP for the pouches because of its experience making retorted baby food pouches and their willingness to work with a small, start up like us.
What was the toughest decision?
Carr and Heegel: The hardest design decision was whether to go with a streamlined, adult-like design or a more kid-like version with cartoon-like animals. In the end, we went with the streamlined version that stands out on the aisle. We knew from the beginning that the pouch would be much more difficult to fill than a jar, but the growing popularity of the pouch market had us persevere.
Any packaging challenge related to the products’ high meat content vs. typical fruit puree baby food?
Carr and Heegel: One unexpected challenge was a last-minute switch from a foil lined pouch to an all-plastic pouch suitable for x-ray inspection quality control purposes. Another challenge we’ve faced is that the high-fat content of our food makes the pouches more difficult to fill than lower-fat fruit purees.
[Ed. Note: Mondi KSP, a Korean-based Mondi business with sales offices in North America, tells us the structure is aluminum oxide/polyester/nylon/cast polypropylene.]
Knowing that the products will be available at Amazon in multipacks: Is there anything special about the secondary packaging?
Carr and Heegel: We decided to stick with an industry standard 6-pack carton. It works both for Amazon single-case sales and for retail shelves with the tops torn off. Our favorite carton is the variety pack, which was designed for online sales only.
What was a packaging lesson learned?
Carr and Heegel: The package is so small that every square centimeter really counts. It was hard to squeeze in everything the regulations required and also include our mission to help heal the planet by supporting regenerative agriculture. You probably can't get everything you want in a design. We learned you have to choose what the most important feeling you want to evoke and let the rest go.
Did you receive any usable feedback during development to fine-tune the packaging?
Carr and Heegel: We did several prototypes to get feedback. The first prototype was a vinyl label that we manually applied to about 100 pouches. We used these prototypes at a few small tradeshows such as Paleo f(x), Mommycon Austin, and Mommycon Orange County. Then we had our co-packer run prototype batches with the printed pouches. We shared those at Expo East and with some retailers. We haven't made any changes to the pouch or graphics as a result of that feedback, though we're considering a few changes for the next iteration.
What’s been the preliminary reception?
Carr and Heegel: Parents love it, kids love it, brokers, grocery buyers love it, reporters love it, our moms love it. Everyone loves it! We haven’t had any negative feedback. Some say it doesn’t look like baby food and then ask if adults can eat it, too. Health-conscious adults who don’t like cooking are our secret secondary market. All they have to do is twist the cap and drink their meat and veggies. No chewing required!
Serenity Kids is accepting customer pre-orders through its website and will launch on Amazon in 6-count multipacks of 4-oz pouches for $26.95. For more information, visit Serenity Kids.
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