The Food Journal and Food, Nutrition & Science

An alliance between The Lempert Report and The Center for Food Integrity

Sprout Baby

Sprout Baby

Sustainability

June 28, 2009

The brainchild of parents and professionals, SproutBaby.com (motto: Love your baby. Love the Planet.) is a comprehensive, eco-conscious, e-commerce and social shopping network. Centered on making mindful decisions about the products parents choose to put on, in and around their children and families, the site promotes organic foods and products while providing expert opinions from professionals in pertinent parenting fields. We talked to Jody Sherman, CEO and co-founder of SproutBaby.com, about the role a business can play in helping to cultivate a healthy generation of children.

How did you come to form SproutBaby.com?

Sproutbaby.com was born out of a desire to make healthy shopping a little bit easier on parents. The SproutBaby team is a small group of parents, aunts and uncles who saw a need within their own families for a single place that made it easy to make good, healthy choices; a place where all the products are authentically good and easy to access and where like-minded people could connect about being parents.

Have you been able to merge commerce with sustainable business practices?

Absolutely. From our shipping to our "meetings," we live up to our green philosophy. Most of our communications take place via email, conference calls and Skype, so we have reduced our potential footprint by limiting the amount of driving and flying it would take for us to meet "face-to-face" on a regular basis. We ship our inventory in boxes made from recycled cardboard or whenever possible, from recycled boxes. Also, our packing peanuts are biodegradable and recyclable. If our customers compost, we encourage the peanuts to be composted, but they can also be planted, recycled or reused. And most importantly, each member of the team practices sustainable living, and that is inevitably brought to the business through our group conscience. 

What are the benefits of bridging the gap between healthy choices and easychoices?

Healthy choices are not often the most readily available options out there. So, we have to work very hard to make sure that we can offer authentically good products at reasonable prices and with ease. If the only products we offer are healthy, non-toxic and safe, then we are creating a space where healthy choices are easy choices. And an easy choice for a parent is a loaded experience. It means that healthy becomes convenient, preferred and repeated. We are helping consumers make the healthiest choices for their families without having to search twelve different places for five essential products. 

As an e-store, where are you saving the most energy?

First, we don’t have the physical footprint of a retail location, which means our use of resources is lower than a store. In addition, we try wherever possible to use service providers that offer the greenest solutions – from carbon neutral hosting providers to simple things like low wattage lighting in our offices.   

How is your business unique from other organic baby operations?

We carry a brand new baby food that can only be found online at SproutBaby.com. Sprout Foods Baby Food, created by Tyler Florence of the Food Network, is a line that is exclusive to us. It is delicious, organic, and comes in an environmentally friendly, non-BPA plastic pouch instead of a glass jar. It takes less energy to create and ship, but most importantly, moms and their little ones love it. Not to mention, we sell other organic, sustainable, and healthy products. We are not limited to one or two categories of organic baby choices, and because we sell the food, we have already separated ourselves from other organic baby operations. 

And, all of our products must pass a rigorous set of standards set forth by Healthy Child Healthy World (a non-profit organization that supports protective policies and engages communities to make responsible decisions while creating healthy environments for children and families), so only authentically good products are available on our site. Good enough will never make its way to our store – the products we offer must be eco-friendly through and through.

How can you serve as a model for other parenting sites?

We are trying to “walk the walk” every day by being mindful of the decisions we make as a company and as individuals. We take a portion of every sale we make and donate it to Healthy Child Healthy World. We only represent products which we believe to be of the highest quality and that we would use on ourselves and on our little ones. Additionally, we are reminded every day that we are only tenants of this planet, and we need to leave it in better shape than we found it. We have seen success in our proactive approach to customer service and product selection; moms are telling other moms that they can trust us. Our focus is on building a company that treats its customers, vendors, and employees as precious. Success to us will come from helping moms make better choices for their babies and families, connecting like-minded people, and seeing a positive impact of the combination of authentically great products, advocacy, and mindful living.

 

In upcoming issues, we will feature interviews with companies that are taking innovative steps toward the creation of sustainable products and services. If you are interested in telling us more about what your company is doing please contact Allison Bloom at allison@foodnutritionscience.com.