In late May 2021, pre-sales of Sprout Organics’ plant-based, intolerance-friendly infant and toddler formulae launched. A week later, the Australia-based company had sold around 660 units, about 10 per cent to customers overseas. Orders came in from 19 countries including the UK, Europe, South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong.
The company, founded in 2020 by Selasi Berdie, started with plant-based snack bars and mini muffins for children. Berdie had previously spent five years perfecting plant-based infant- and toddler-friendly recipes after failing to find suitable plant-based foods for his own kids.
“Plant-based nutrition offers a dramatically lower carbon, water, and ecological footprint, making it the best choice to ensure a sustainable future for our kids,” Berdie told FoodNavigator-Asia in a recent article.
The company’s latest foray into the plant-based food space is allergen-free infant- and toddler formulae.
Sprout Organics is not the only company making plant-based infant formulae– Nestlé’s soy-based Gerber brand, Israel’s Else Nutrition, containing buckwheat, tapioca and almonds) are competitors in the space. Sprout’s point of distinction is that its formulae are ‘intolerance-friendly’.
“Soy is also a common allergen and not recommended for infants under six months of age,” Berdie told FoodNavigator-Asia. Instead, Sprout Organic uses rice starch, safe for infants and an oft-used ingredient in European formulae, as its base ingredient. It mixes this with organic rice protein, pea protein, DHA from algae, a blend of coconut and canola oils, minerals and vitamins. Sprout Organics’ toddler formula, for kids 12 months and older, also contains probiotics (bacillus coagulans).
While the company sources ingredients locally where possible, there’s no organic rice option in Australia, Berdie claims – hence, Sprout imports its base ingredient from the Middle East.
Sprout Organics is Australia’s first plant-based and certified organic infant and toddler formula. The products also meet safety requirements under the Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ). The company’s infant and toddler formulas are manufactured in Melbourne; its snack products on the Gold Coast.
Set to launch domestically in July, the company’s rice-based infant and toddler formulae will be stocked by health-food stores, pharmacies and independent grocers. “A very heavy event schedule” including 10-plus trade shows and in-store promotions, is ongoing.
Sprout Organic’s product development pipeline for FY2021-22 includes a ‘neutral’ toddler formula, junior plant protein, organic rice cereals and a range of kid-friendly superfoods.