Story by Ros Reines 

When Sel Berdie floated the idea of a plant-based baby formula, he almost drowned in a sea of rejection. But he refused to be put off course. 

The low-key Queensland businessman and sportsman (known as Big Bird, when he played for the Gold Coast Titans in the National Rugby League), knew that he had all the tools necessary to launch Sprout Organic. 

It was all about his mindset. He took inspiration from his Ghanian parents who migrated to Melbourne (where Sel was born), with almost nothing, but made a success of their lives. 

There was also his courage, displayed in the past by stepping into the ring as an MMA fighter. But most of all, it was his strong belief that Sprout Organic could give young, pro-plant-based families like his, the best start in life. 

Circle back several years to when his first son, Ellis, was born and his wife, Jen, developed mastitis. Berdie soon began the hunt for a baby formula without animal products or dairy. 

“I realised that there wasn’t any options, so that’s what triggered me to start Sprout,” he says, over the phone from Queensland. 

With his background in food and wellness as co-founder of BSKT Wholefoods and vegan soft serve, Cocowhip, plus many years working with elite athletes at Body Science supplements, he set about creating his own formula for his family.