Protein focused baby food brand raises $52 million

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AUSTIN, TEXAS — Serenity and Joe Carr founded Serenity Kids to ensure babies consumed  protein, whole foods, and less sugar and carbohydrates.

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“We looked at what was out there and it was so limiting,” said Serenity Carr, chief executive officer and co-founder of Serenity Kids. “There were only 6 or 12 different kinds of fruits, maybe a vegetable (pouch) here and there. There were no meats and virtually no protein down that (baby food) aisle. When we started this business that was our core focus is, ‘how do we have a macro nutrient balance for those first foods for babies in pouches?’”

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Serenity Kids launched in 2018 and offers baby food pouch varieties in five lines: World Explorers, Dairy-Free Smoothies, Ethically Sourced Meats, Organic Savory Veggies, and Purees with Bone Broth, as well as zero-sugar Grain Free Puffs, and an A2 Whole Milk Toddler Formula.

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As new parents themselves when the brand launched, the couple focused on providing their daughter, Della, what they considered to be the best foods possible.

“The flavor window is so important for babies,” Serenity said. “If you give them only sweet tastes early on in life, then you set them up only to prefer sweet tastes later in their life. So, we’re trying to provide a wide variety of tastes of ingredients and flavors so they can be set up for healthy eaters later.”

Joe Carr, president and co-founder, added, “It’s hard feeding a baby. So why feed them empty calories when you can be feeding them nutrient dense meats, which are hard to prepare yourself. It’s easy to mush up an avocado and give it to a baby or mushed carrots, but it’s hard to give your baby a grass fed steak or even a hamburger. It was one of those founding propositions for moms who wanted to feed their kids meat but it’s hard to make it themselves in safe applications.”

Protein was essential in the Carr’s baby led weaning journey as their daughter weaned herself from breastfeeding at nine months.

“We started feeding her bone broth with liver in it one bottle a day as part of her supplement to the formula,” Serenity said. “When we were making pouches we said, ‘wouldn’t it be cool if we could take the water that we would add to pouches to make them liquids and puree and use bone broth instead to boost the protein and add a lot more nutrients and flavor?’”

The company recently closed a $52 million Series B minority investment and partnership led by Stride Consumer Partners LLC. The Carr’s will maintain ownership and continue to run the company.

“We weren’t looking to raise money,” Joe said. “We were engaged in the financial community and met Stride Consumer Partners and they made us an offer we couldn’t refuse.”

The funds will help the company grow marketing and innovations and add employees.

The founders are looking to penetrate beyond the traditional natural channel into conventional and mass channels.

“We’ll eventually be in club (stores) like Costco and Sam’s (Club),” Joe said. “The big priority is to keep nurturing the natural (channel) and grow in conventional and mass.”

Serenity Kids will continue focusing on innovating baby food but is looking to be a children’s brand overall.

“We believe baby products are just the beginning,” Joe said. “In the short run we want to do more pouches and we’re working on more toddler snacks.”

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