BERKELEY, CALIF. — Hundreds of miles from Hollywood, in an Oklahoma town with a population pushing 1,500, it’s not unusual to spot actress Jennifer Garner clad in denim overalls and red boots caked with mud. She is a fixture on her family farm there, harvesting sweet potatoes or steering a tractor, as documented for her millions of social media followers. The land, where her mother grew up, is tended by Ms. Garner’s uncle Robert and aunt Janet and produces some of the organic fruits and vegetables sourced by her baby food company, Once Upon A Farm.
The actress joined the business as co-founder and chief brand officer four years ago, alongside longtime Annie’s leader John Foraker, who became co-founder and chief executive officer after stepping down at General Mills. Based in Berkeley, Calif., Once Upon A Farm was established two years prior by consumer products veterans Cassandra Curtis and Ari Raz as a first-of-its-kind line of fresh baby food, pasteurized with high pressure to preserve flavor and nutrition.
Today, the company markets an assortment of organic, chilled food for babies and children. Packaged in grab-and-go pouches and sold in 9,500 stores nationwide, products include fruit and vegetable blends, dairy-free smoothies and overnight oats, all formulated with no added sugar, dairy, preservatives, or artificial or genetically modified ingredients.
A mission of the company is expanding access to nutritious, organic foods across all socioeconomic levels. The team developed products that are available at zero cost to eligible families through the US Department of Agriculture Special Supplement Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children in select states. The company also partners with Save the Children, an organization promoting literacy, nutrition and early education, for which Ms. Garner has served as an ambassador for more than a decade.
Earlier this year, Once Upon A Farm acquired Raised Real, a direct-to-consumer brand of frozen meals that may be pureed, mashed or served as finger foods. The company plans to reintroduce the line of organic meals later this year in Target stores and on the Once Upon A Farm website.
In a recent interview, Ms. Garner and Mr. Foraker discussed the origins of and their aspirations for Once Upon A Farm as a “next-generation kid nutrition company.”
Read the full interview from Food Entrepreneur here.