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Welcome to our Serenity Kids review!
Looking to the macronutrient balance of breast milk as the ultimate nutritional blueprint for baby food, Serenity Kids founders Joe and—you guessed it—Serenity Carr are on a campaign to put the healthy fats and proteins back into the baby food pouch.
Parents, if you know, you know—that baby food pouch and puff aisle is filled with starchy fruits and vegetables, processed seed oils, added sugar, preservatives, and not a whole lot else.
Enter Serenity and Joe with their baby food pouches and puffs, which are made with clean, organic, and regeneratively sourced meats, fruits, and vegetables.
After meeting up with the Carrs at Expo East, later interviewing them in a quieter environment (free of spontaneous bagpiper processions, don’t ask), and vicariously trying the products, we give Serenity Kids an overall grade of A in our review.
Their baby food is impeccably clean, apparently delicious, and made by conscientious parents who prioritize children and the environment at the top.
Both Serenity and Joe battled significant digestive issues as kids and young adults, which they accurately blame on the state of processed foods in the 80s.
Some time after being told she would have to be on prescription medications for life just to maintain a normal diet, Serenity’s dad introduced her to the paleo diet, which really helped.
Joe, who grew up with undiagnosed autism, had a somewhat similar experience of rotating different diets to little avail, until he met Serenity and got on board with paleo as well.
In the midst of the all-consuming priority shift every couple goes through when planning a family, the now-married pair were thoroughly disappointed with the state of store-bought baby food.
“We looked, and were really disappointed with what we found, Joe said. “It was all just fruit purees—no fat, no meat.”
That’s when they took to the blender for a complete overhaul, using breast milk as their roadmap for creating a nutritionally balanced baby food that brought those crucial fats and proteins back into the equation.
After plenty of research, blending, and testing, Joe and Serenity officially launched their first four baby food pouches on the same day they had their daughter, Della (2018).
With the help of their new product tester, the Carrs continued to expand their pouch line, eventually launching their puffs in 2021.
As for future plans, the Carrs plan to gradually “age up” their catalog to include products for kids in later stages of development.
Every brand we review is assessed using these six umbrella criteria (Serenity Kids scores included):
Serenity Kids received an overall grade of A for their superior ingredient quality, testing and sourcing standards, and more.
As always, we’ll kick off the review with a closer look at quality.
Riding or exceeding industry gold standards for ingredient sourcing, product testing, and more, Serenity Kids makes a strong argument for overall quality.
In addition to end product quality itself, we also assess sourcing and manufacturing standards, certifications, and other factors that can influence quality and consistency thereof.
Starting with sourcing, the Serenity Kids website features a well-above-average breakdown of their partner farmers detailing how and where their 100% organic vegetables, 100% grass-fed bison, and 100% pasture-raised turkeys are grown and/or raised, to name a few producers.
Included on the page are ample descriptions of each farm, complete with pictures, one of which includes Serenity Carr herself.
Most of the farms are located in Oregon and California, where they use regenerative agriculture and other innovative practices to optimize their environmental impact while producing high-quality crops (and/or animals).
The one exception to USA-based sourcing that the Carrs noted in our interview was the fair-trade cassava, which they get from Nicaragua.
Between Serenity Kids’ various suppliers and brand headquarters in Austin, TX, they hold the following certifications and memberships:
Moving on to the products themselves, the packaging for the baby food pouches was plenty durable, and we appreciate the tactile learning element of the pouch (baby gets to squeeze, grip the pouch) versus the less enriching experience of a more rigid container.
Labeling is attractive, concise, and well-organized, featuring all the major elements you’d need to know, including nutrition facts, ingredients, an extra highlight of the protein and fat content on the front label.
There was also a well-designed graphic featuring pictures of the ingredients and a short description of the farming methods (free-range, etc.).
The ingredients in (literally) all of Serenity Kids products are impeccably clean and high-quality; superior in every way to the vast majority of even premium competitors you may find in the grocery store.
In most cases, all but one or two of the ingredients are organic, natural foods, and those that aren’t are either water and/or another ingredient that doesn’t qualify.
For example, here’s the ingredient list for their Free Range Chicken Baby Food Pouch:
Organic Peas, Organic Carrots, Organic Free-Range Chicken, Water, Organic Avocado Oil
Thanks to the quality of the ingredients themselves and the formulation choices that Joe and Serenity have made—steering the over-saccharinated baby food ship back to a healthier balance of fats, proteins, and carbs—Serenity Kids is making a serious bid for the number one spot in store-bought baby food quality.
Hence, they earn an A+ for quality.
Here’s a closer look at the Serenity Kids product selection:
We’ll continue to focus mostly on the meat pouches because of how underrepresented they are in the industry, but Serenity Kids also makes several varieties of veggie pouches.
Here’s a shortlist of the Serenity Kids pouch selection, which features 17 unique products in total:
All Serenity kids baby food pouches are made with organic ingredients, and are free of gluten, corn, added sugar, rice, grain, soy, and nuts.
Launched in 2021, the Serenity Kids Grain-Free Baby Puffs line is still growing, but already has five unique options covering a broad palette of flavors and nutrients, including:
In addition to keeping the entire collection grain free, Serenity Kids also steers clear of added sugars while keeping farm-to-high-chair organic vegetables and vital fats at the forefront.
Swapping out sugar-spiking starches with organic cassava root, these puffs take the nutritional compromise out of toddler snacks.
The addition of organic red bell pepper, tomato powder, basil, and garlic creates a broad and nutritious palette of flavor.
We’ve heard some amazing stories of kids with failure to thrive with the formula.Serenity Carr, co-founder of Serenity Kids
Considering the strategy from day one has been to mirror the life-giving goodness of breastmilk throughout their product catalog, we weren’t too surprised to see that Serenity Kids also launched a toddler formula last year.
“We’ve heard some amazing stories of kids with failure to thrive with the formula,” Serenity told us.
They’re also working with the FDA to develop an infant formula.
The Serenity Kids team leaves very little on the table regarding their operations, philosophies, and more.
Brands earn credit in this category for how accessible they make product information, key manufacturing practices, policies, and other customer-facing insights that build trust and inform site visitors.
Alongside the aforementioned Our Farmers page, the About section on the Serenity Kids website is very robust, delivering fluff-free, yet personal stories about the founding, mission, leadership team, and more.
The Carrs are not hesitant to take on some vulnerability in transparently sharing the story of their dietary struggles, which forms a more personal connection with their audience.
The product pages are equally well-furnished with information, including a tabbed box that allows easy access to product information, ingredients, sourcing, and more, as well as a carousel of their certification seals, “free from” statements (grain-free, soy-free, etc)., and a few other features.
As for the more menial stuff, like shipping/return policies, a simple footer link leads you to a shipping policy page, where shipping and return policies are clearly delineated—you’d be surprised how cryptic some of these policy pages can be!
Especially when taking into account the depth and authenticity of the “about” section, the Serenity Kids website delivers a clear A+ for transparency.
A fluid ecommerce experience pairs with engaging educational content to create a positive website experience on desktop and mobile.
This ranking category awards credit for how easy and informative the user experience is on the reviewed brand’s website, which encompasses site functionality on mobile devices (responsiveness), the shopping experience, and depth and breadth of educational content.
Starting first with the e-commerce experience, all product categories are a one-click departure from the Serenity Kids homepage, thanks to a subcategory menu that expands when you hover over the shop link.
Alternatively, you can click on “shop all” and then use the category filters (baby food pouches, meat pouches, grain-free puffs, etc.) on the left sidebar to further refine your search after the fact.
Within each category, clickable product images are presented in a fairly standard setup—rows of 3 (on desktop) with product names, reviews, prices, and add-to-cart buttons ready.
Click on a product image to access the product page, which, as described above, is well-supplied with ingredient information, comparisons, sourcing details, and much more.
Adding items to your cart and checking out are seamless and intuitive (no messy splash pages or weird redirects), and we like the “You’re $X away from free shipping” meter that hangs out in a sidebar panel above a subscription opt-in box, recommended products slider, and more.
Try as we did to find some janky images or buttons on the mobile website, all we found was an equally seamless and aesthetically pleasing experience.
Finally, the Serenity Kids blog refreshingly transcends the fluffy “lifestyle” content offered up by many nutrition brand blogs, diving deeper into topics like soil microbiome quality, ideal nutritional targets for breastfeeding mothers, and more.
The Serenity Kids website is seriously well-designed and informative—it’s an A+ for website experience.
Fair customer-facing policies and a responsive email support service stand out, though the phone service took a couple days to respond.
Both the human side (i.e., getting an actual customer service rep on the phone) and the non-human side (shipping/return policies) of customer service need to cover the full range of common customer needs to score well in this category.
Serenity Kids offers phone and email support, which cover the two most important bases; we reserve a small bonus for brands who also have live messenger support.
The email system was both quick and helpful, as we received a thorough response to our submitted question within less than 15 minutes.
When testing the phone service, we were directed straight to a voicemail, eventually receiving a response (about 2 full business days later).
The Serenity Kids shipping policy delineates a 4-6 day shipping window on orders, and shipping is free if you spend over $35—we love the fairly low threshold here.
The 30-day return policy applies only to unopened and unused products, but there is a guarantee that encourages customers to email Serenity Kids if they aren’t 100% satisfied.
This leaves things a bit open-ended, but it sounds like the Serenity Kids team is willing to at least consider refunds of opened products depending on the circumstances.
Overall, Serenity Kids has established a fairly responsive and flexible customer service department, earning an A- for customer service.
There’s no hiding the premium attached to all Serenity Kids products, but stark differentiators in product quality and exclusivity help them climb back up to A territory for value.
As it often happens, the same factors that positively differentiate Serenity Kids from their competitors are the factors that we knew would drive up the price—clean, organic, ethically sourced, and flat-out more expensive ingredients.
We don’t put too much stock into raw price comparisons—too many mismatched variables—but for some helpful context, here’s how Serenity Kids stacks up against the only two (popular) competitors of theirs that we know carry meat items:
As expected, the Serenity Kids price point is premium and then some, but not without at least partial justification.
First, the protein content of Serenity Kids is double that of their competitors, a trend that stays fairly consistent throughout the rest of their product line.
Though Sprout and Plum Organics have plenty of organic ingredients, Serenity’s Beef Pot Roast pouch is the only one in the comparison to steer clear of pastes (real tomato), with added consideration for shiitake mushroom, apple cider vinegar, and plenty of “farm-to-high-chair” vegetables.
Finally, Serenity wasn’t kidding when she explained how skewed the market is towards fruits and vegetables, so we’ve also factored in how Serenity Kids has filled a highly neglected gap in the industry by providing those crucial proteins and fats.
All considered, we landed on an A- for value here.
If you’re on a tight budget, it might not feel like an A-range value, but for parents who insist on top-tier quality and nutrition, there’s no denying Serenity Kids does it better.
Oh, and they have a subscription program that hacks off 20% regularly.
We’ve got two simple questions for every subscription program we encounter: is the discount actually worth it (none of this 5% nonsense), and can you cancel anytime?
Serenity Kids goes two for two on these questions with their Subscribe & Save program, which was pretty much the deciding factor that kept them in the A range for value.
Here are some quick details on the Serenity Kids subscription program:
If you’re confident enough in Serenity Kids products to use them regularly, they’ve given us no reason not to recommend their subscription plan.
There’s little question as to the profound impact Serenity Kids is having on the baby food industry, and an equally solid showing on the sustainability and philanthropy fronts seals a full score for brand value.
This is where we gauge the influence the reviewed brand has had over their industry at large, which includes innovation, industry disruption level, sustainability, philanthropy, and more.
First of all, it doesn’t get much more disruptive than what the Carrs are doing to the baby food industry, considering how they’ve essentially created their own category of heavily one-upped baby food selections that include meat (not just broth) alongside top-quality organic ingredients.
Having such little context to work with, innovation was a key part of the R&D process for Serenity and Joe, who tactfully exploited the fact that other companies had given up on trying to get babies to enjoy savory foods.
After dozens of test batches and honest feedback from other parents, Joe and Serenity found the optimal flavor window for babies, launching their chicken, pea, carrot and beef, and sweet potato pouches as the first wave of products.
We also would be remiss without mentioning their campaign against heavy metals in baby food, an issue the pair is actively combating by ensuring their ingredients are tested for heavy metals prior to manufacturing.
As recipients of the Clean Label Project Purity Award, Joe and Serenity also have their products (randomly) tested by an accredited third-party lab, who analyzes for more than 200 contaminants, including heavy metals.
On the sustainability side, Serenity Kids makes their pouches in a solar-powered, US-based factory, and chose plastic over glass for sustainability purposes.
Notable causes that Serenity Kids has supported includes their Terracycle partnership (recycling the plastic pouches), Partnership for a Healthier America, and of course, their support of regenerative agriculture.
For these and the other efforts Serenity Kids is making to elevate the state of baby food nutrition in a sustainable, authentic way, we award Serenity Kids an A+ for brand value.
Having personally visited Joe and Serenity at their Expo East booth just a few weeks prior to our review, we were able to sneak away some samples for this very purpose.
Hence, we can’t comment on the condition in which the products “arrived” or the timeliness of the shipping process, but all of the packaging (we grabbed several pouches) held up throughout our return flights.
Our junior tester of two years “life experience” (literally) tried the Beef Pot Roast and Free-Range Chicken pouches.
Already a fan of bolder and more savory flavors, the Beef Pot Roast was an easy sell for our young toddler, though she was initially a bit confused because she’s not used to this kind of flavor coming from a pouch.
After a short adjustment period, she happily finished the pouch, later giving the Free-Range Chicken a try, albeit less enthusiastically.
Both pouches were easy for her to handle, and though she didn’t finish the chicken pouch, 1.5/2 on the first couple attempts is a fairly strong success rate.
And hey, the inevitable geyser of baby food sent spraying everywhere at that first squeeze was much easier to clean up than Serenity’s sugary, sticky competitors.
Keeping in mind that preferences vary across taste and other subjective factors, in more objective areas (testing standards, sourcing quality, etc.), Serenity Kids is among the most quality-driven brands in the baby food industry.
More than any baby food brand our testers have experience with, Serenity Kids is heavily committed to testing their ingredients and products for heavy metals to ensure the levels are negligibly low.
Thanks to their use of organic cassava flour, olive oil, and several organic vegetables, Serenity Kids grain-free puffs are significantly healthier than the majority of for-toddler puffs you’ll find on the market.
Thanks to the way their pouches are sealed in the manufacturing process, unopened Serenity Kids products do not need to be refrigerated.
Serenity Kids is sold on their website, as well as many online retailers and brick-and-mortar stores across the USA, such as Kroger, Thrive Market, Vitacost, Amazon, and more. Use this store locator tool to find where Serenity Kids products are sold near you.
In every major quality metric, Serenity Kids rides or exceeds industry-leading standards, including those governing product testing and safety.
Their ingredient lists are consistently superior to competitors, featuring organic vegetables, fruits, meat, herbs, and more.
Serenity Kids has one of the most transparent and well-designed websites we’ve reviewed to date, where they share deep insights about their personal stories alongside their sourcing partners, policies, and plenty of consumer education pieces.
The steeper pricing may be a dealbreaker for some parents, though we can partially justify it with the above quality points (and Serenity’s 20% discount for subscription orders).
Finally, we don’t see any other baby food brands taking as staunch a stance on heavy metals, regenerative agriculture, and other safety/sustainability standards, which is why Serenity Kids is a clear A+ on the brand value front.
But toddlers don’t care about any of this, and yet ours finished an entire pouch of Serenity Kids baby food on the first try—sealing our overall grade of A for Serenity Kids.
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