Sprout Foods launches Alexa skill aimed at improving family nutrition

Tim Maytom

Sprout Foods, one of the largest independent infant nutrition companies, is aiming to help moms and dads cope with the hassle of meal time and get kids to eat healthier, more balanced and nutritional meals with the use of an Amazon Alexa skill.

Working with independent agency Walrus, the firm has launched Sophie Sprout, a new voice skill that is designed to provide support for parents looking to instil healthy eating habits early on. Initially available as an Alexa skill, the company also has plans to launch it as a Google Home voice app.

According to Amazon, audio skills for kids are the fastest growing category of skills for its voice assistant Alexa, with hundreds of kid-targeted voice skills currently available in the US. The retail giant recently launched the Echo Dot Kids Edition, and has hosted contests for developers of children’s skills. A recent report by eMarketer also found that voice assistants are being heavily used by parents of young children to complete daily tasks like a personal assistant would.

Sophie Sprout can play songs about fruits, vegetables and plant-based proteins, created to encourage eating and spark an interest in healthy whole foods, as well as a ‘mealtime adventure’ that guides parents and kids through the classic “here comes the airplane” style spoon-feeding tactics that parents already employ to get their children to eat more. Finally, the skill also lets users eat a baby food pouch along with its main narrator, a talking plant named Sophie Sprout. She encourages young children to take sips along to fun sounds.

“In the voice space, apps and skills are 100 per cent user-initiated, so brands need to bring something useful to the table or else they’ll be ignored,” said Deacon Webster, co-founder and chief creative officer at Walrus. “With Sophie Sprout, we’re bringing an element of fun and entertainment to the often-taxing process of getting kids to eat their meals. This isn’t an ad. It’s a tool that can be used over and over again.”