Saskia Sorrosa and her daugter Isa.
Like many moms, Saskia Sorrosa of Scarsdale, wants nothing but the best for her two little girls—particularly when it comes to what they eat. That’s why, in April 2015, she founded Fresh Bellies, an all-natural, preservative-free baby-food company that uses organic and locally grown ingredients. Born and raised in Ecuador, Sorrosa was accustomed to a non-processed diet full of fresh foods. Coming to America, she quickly realized that this was not the norm. When her first daughter was born in 2012, she scoured the marketplace to find healthy and suitable options. “Everything is processed,” she says. “I didn’t eat that way, so I didn’t want my kids to either.”
She began making her own baby food, mixing healthy and organic ingredients that she could feel good about feeding her daughter. However, being a round-the-clock mom, as well as continuing her role as vice president of marketing for the National Basketball Association, left little time for cooking and meal planning, which functioned as a third full-time job. So, Sorrosa decided to start Fresh Bellies. She recalls thinking to herself, “If I don’t do this now, I never will.”
Production takes place in a commercial kitchen in Mamaroneck, and at first, was only being sold at local farmers’ markets. Now, her products can be found in several Mrs. Green’s locations throughout Westchester, as wel as grocery stores such as Palmer’s in Darien, CT and Greene Grape in Brooklyn. (On average, a 4oz. container of food is sold at $3.99+ depending on the store.)
Using innovative combinations, Fresh Bellies’ items never include more than five ingredients, with combinations not commonly seen in the baby-food aisle. Flavors get clever names such as “Broccoli Ever After,” pairing broccoli, garlic, and Swiss chard; “Apple of My Eye,” which is comprised of apples, blueberry, and mint; and “We Got the Beet,” which couples golden beets and thyme.
Although markets are packed with organic options these days, Sorrosa claims Fresh Bellies’ offerings are the only ones that are both refrigerated and preservative-free, never mix fruits and vegetables, and are always seasoned without the addition of sugar or salt. “Our potential is huge,” she says. “There is nothing like our products.”
Despite Fresh Bellies’ minimal advertising, Sorrosa describes her success as, fittingly, an “organic growth” due to high demand. “If mothers can’t find our products on the shelves, they are seeking them out, writing and calling me to find out when and where it is available,” she shares.
Looking forward, the goal is expanded distribution by 2017, but Fresh Bellies’ next big step is the launch of new packaging. Originally, the food came in glass jars and was made for freezer storage. This month, the new PVC&BPA-free plastic containers made for refrigeration are being released, which include a custom lid and little spoon for on-the-go eating. According to Sorrosa, spoon-feeding is proven to be a better alternative to pouches, which do not help to expand babies’ palates or promote healthy feeding behaviors.
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Ultimately, Sorrosa believes that picky eaters are made, not born, and that by broadening children’s horizons and training them to be healthy eaters, “We are changing the celebration and tradition around food for our families.”