Once Upon a Farm has acquired Raised Real, a frozen baby food subscription by mail startup. With this purchase, Once Upon a Farm will add a frozen direct-to-consumer product line to its lineup. Deal terms were not disclosed.
From the release:
The purchase of Raised Real will expand Once Upon a Farm’s growing organic, refrigerated pouch portfolio to now include frozen meal options, making it even easier for parents to choose and prepare nutritious meals and snacks for babies and toddlers.
Once Upon a Farm, founded in 2017, has so far reached $30 million in revenue and is one of the leading brands in the organic and better-for-you baby food space. Earlier this year, company CEO John Foraker said the company was exploring direct-to-consumer because it’s where “much of the growth is coming from.”
Those explorations apparently led them to Raised Real.
In the same interview, Foraker said the company wasn’t looking at the frozen food aisle. Apparently that didn’t exclude frozen food delivered by mail, which is exactly what they are getting in Raised Real. Raised Real’s main products are flash-frozen plant-forward baby meals, which they sell in 12 or 24 allotments for an average price of about $5-6.
Longtime readers of The Spoon may recall Raised Real’s CEO and cofounder Santiago Merea was the founder of Orange Chef, a company that was sold in parts to Yummly (later itself bought by Whirlpool) and the Perfect Company. Merea’s shift to baby food was in large part driven by his interest in the category after he himself became a parent.
“I couldn’t wait for them to start eating,” Merea told me in in 2017. “But when I went to the grocery store all of the food was processed. I realized that all of these companies are speaking to the previous generations of parents. The current generation of parents doesn’t want processed food. They want fresh and organic.”
Merea’s background in kitchen hardware probably had a lot to do with the Raised Real’s initial product offering, which paired the company’s frozen food with a customized food blender that subscribers would get with a subscription commitment. The hardware eventually went away, probably to simplify the business model and because most parents already know how to use their own blenders.
Merea, who will be staying with Once Upon a Farm, sees the deal as helping bring Raised Real to a wider audience.
“John Foraker and his team at Once Upon a Farm are perfect to accelerate our aspirations at retail and help us bring to life our ambitious vision,” said Merea in this week’s release. “Our products, combined, create a leading plant-rich portfolio platform for kids of all ages across fresh and frozen, online and offline. This is a big day in our journey in which we can all celebrate.”