If you’ve been following our series on who’s on GoodGuide, you’ll have noticed some pretty diverse professional backgrounds. People from all walks of life are making their way to GoodGuide to find healthier products from companies that pay attention to what’s going on in the world. One of our longtime fans is Amy Marlow, a registered dietitian who currently lends her nutrition expertise to HappyBaby, an up-and-coming company that makes organic baby food.
We got a chance to chat with Amy to learn more about being a dietitian, writing a book with Dr. Robert Sears, and working at HappyBaby.
GG: Tell us a little about yourself. How did you first get involved with HappyBaby?
AM: I’m a registered dietitian and I started my career working as a pediatric dietitian in a hospital. I eventually shifted my focus to public health and the health education arena, but after I had my first child, as I was navigating through breastfeeding and starting solid foods it rekindled my passion for pediatrics. Around that time my husband read an article that mentioned a start-up organic baby food company in NYC – HappyBaby. He suggested that I find out if they had a dietitian working with them and, if not, to offer my expertise. So I Googled the owner, Shazi Visram, and tracked down her phone number and called her! Long story short: in 2006 right after they launched in stores I became their Nutrition Advisor.
GG: What sets HappyBaby apart from other companies that make baby food?
AM: I think HappyBaby’s products truly fulfill the company’s mission: that every baby should be a healthy happy baby. The products are now widely distributed, providing many communities with access to optimally nutritious baby foods at accessible prices. We’re the only premium organic food company offering a complete line for babies and toddlers from cereals to meals to snacks. HappyBaby also adds a unique array of functional ingredients to our products, including DHA, pre- and probiotics, Salba (chia), and choline which we recently added to our HAPPYBELLIES cereals and our Munchies snacks for toddlers.
GG: HappyBaby started out in stores in the New York City area, but is now available nationwide and even internationally. Suffice to say the company has grown tremendously! What are some of the challenges the company faced along the way, and where do you see HappyBaby headed?
AM: One challenge has been the basic logistics of the growth, for example increasing sourcing of ingredients and the company’s production capability. Distribution is a big challenge but despite that, we’ve been able to increase our presence in brick-and-mortar stores as well as online. Another challenge that we’ve faced is educating the consumer – parents – about why they should choose tasty and organic foods for their babies from day one – that it matters for baby’s health and also for shaping their tastes for healthy and nutritious foods in the future. We also like to educate parents on how to serve their babies great tasting, organic, and healthy foods easily and without too much expense.
GG: How did you first hear about GoodGuide?
AM: When I was doing research for the book I co-authored with HappyBaby’s Medical Advisor, Dr. Robert Sears (“HAPPYBABY: The Organic Guide to Baby’s First 24 Months,” Harper Collins, 2009) I was looking for ways to help our audience – parents who are trying to “go green” for perhaps the first time – sort through all the “greenwashing” and find good quality products that were not only healthy to have around their babies, but also eco-friendly and sustainable. I came upon GoodGuide and immediately started using it as a resource and suggested that my readers to do the same.
GG: In addition to being a dietitian, you’re a mom. Has GoodGuide helped you find better products for you and your family?
AM: Oh yes. I’ve used GoodGuide when it comes choosing baby care products – soaps, shampoos, lotions, etc. for my kids. I’ve also looked up ratings on household items like cleaners, laundry detergents. I need you to make a Droid app so I can have you with me at the store!
We’re happy to let Amy, and you, know that an Android app is on its way. We’re also happy to let you know that we’ll be raffling off two copies of Amy and Dr. Sears’ book, HAPPYBABY: The Organic Guide to Baby’s First 24 Months. To be eligible, hit the comment section below by Wednesday, March 2nd 5pm PST with your thoughts on which baby products you rely on GoodGuide to help you choose.