Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Foogo Stainless Steel Products Review (Sippy Cup, Straw Bottle & Children's Thermos)

A few months a reader named Von announced the forthcoming of Foogo sippys, in the comment section of my Klean Kanteen stainless sippy review. I sent away for review samples, and was pleased to receive a nice packet of ‘foogo’ baby products right before we went to India. Here is the official review that pushes me over the line from ‘mom-concerned-about-safe-sippys’ into ‘part time mom, full time sippy kook expert.’

Finally! Another stainless steel sippy cup! After (three, four thousand?) years of begging for safe sippys there is one more option out there for us. Out of two. I mean, there are now two companies (that I know of) making stainless sippys. Two companies and plenty of information to suggest there is enough interest in the product to support two dozen companies: for example, we get more than 500 hits a month related to the keywords sippy, glass sippy, stainless sippy, safe cup, etc. [In fact, about half of those hits are specifically looking for glass sippys. Ahem. Did you hear me entrepreneurs??!! If that’s how many hits our piddly Green Parenting site gets, can you imagine the number of products you’re busily not making that would be sold if you were? Egads!]

But that’s not what I’m talking about. I am here to announce that the people who make thermoses have got themselves into the business of making baby sized ones, which I think is nice. Interesting, too, because they aren’t doing it to satisfy moms paranoid about leaching toxins into baby mouths. They just figured babies were as much in need of thermal containers as the rest of us. They worried about all the germs they discovered in plastic sippys full of milk, on hot days. Thermal sippys, they knew, wouldn’t have that problem.

So they stumbled into the green mom, non-plastic-sippy-fetish market. But that doesn’t mean their product doesn’t offer real competition to its sole competitor.


Right off the bat, I’ll say Foogo offers real advantages over Klean Kanteen. The first, most important and obvious factor to me is that they aren’t trying to alter a product made for adults or older kids into something that could be used for a baby. Instead, they are actually designing the product from the outset with a baby in mind. The retrofitting of adult products for babies seems on the very edge of offensive when you think about the $17.95 you drop for the less-than-ideally-designed KK produc, and especially if you remember that they know you're buying it because you don't want your kids drinking out of plastic and there's nothing else out there. I mean, I can see initially retrofitting the adult product. But after that. You know. Make something my kid can hold onto. Don't make me feel like you're poking me when I'm down. Right?

The second advantage of the Foogo is related to the first: it is not one product, it is a line of products including a sippy with handles, a sippy without handles, a sippy-straw flip top thing, and a thermos for kids. The regular sippys look a lot like plastic sippy cups, they’re just made of stainless steel. The larger straw-flip sippy is as tall as the KK, but – and this is key – thin enough for little hands to grasp comfortably.

All this to say: my baby doesn’t look like she has a barrel in her hands when she drinks out of either the sippy or sippy straw cup: she looks like she’s drinking out of a cup that’s just her size. Which makes sense when you dish out $15 (two dollars less than the KK) for a toddler’s drinking vessel.

The third advantage Foogo has is that it is a thermos. If it’s winter and you live in Alaska, like my old friend Derick, you can fill it with warm cider and it will not only stay warm, but it will refrain from becoming a chunk of block ice, which it would not refrain from doing in most every other sippy in the world. If you live in Houston, like my friend myself, you can assure yourself your baby girl is drinking ice water, not boiling water, at the park. No matter where you live, as the Foogo people don't mind stressing, your Foogo is more hygienic for dairy products than any other product available for the little ones.

For all these reasons, I like the Foogo. It’s true that the water that goes to the park in the KK comes back hot, and it doesn’t in a Foogo. My baby can hold the dang cup. These are good, important attributes to a sippy cup.


We talked about the half full part of the sippy cup. And I’m sad to report that there are definitely a few different half empty sides (it's not that I can't wrap up a metaphor, it's that I flunked geometry.)

Which is to say: sadly, like the Klean Kanteen, it has a lot of plastic parts. Of course, Thermos has only used the “safe” plastics -- #5, primarily. The spout on the sippy is made of Thermoplastic elastomer which is, the best that I can tell, a rubber of sorts. Many green sites (well, Treehugger) have little tidbits of info about TPE in ads for things they’re selling. TPEs are supposed to be biodegradable, and safer than plastics.

Unlike the Klean Kanteen, however, if you leave water in the Foogo for more than a few hours it starts tasting like plastic. Or TPE. Maybe it’s not a toxic leachy taste as much as an environmentally safe rubber taste: but it’s a bad taste. Especially this happens in the straw container, maybe it’s whatever plastic the straw is that causes it.

Sadly, I say, because I really like the Foogo. Since I do like it, we just keep up on changing out the water. I spend time hoping that “no known hazards” in the #5 plastic means “no hazards” instead of, “Oh, no. Yep. Ooops. There it is. Hazards.” If we’re going out into the searing heat, or if BabyG demands the Foogo, we opt for the KK.

The last annoying thing about the Foogo is this: if you buy a KK you get extra parts in case that little plastic thing that keeps sippys from leaking gets lost in the dishwater. Maybe those extra parts are the extra two dollars. I would pay them because in the life of a toddler’s possession, a tiny round slab of plastic stands a slim chance of lasting longer than two or three months. All parents will need a spare little piece of plastic, why not include a couple spares, like the KK people do?

Mind Blowing Conclusion:

My mom once met a slightly paranoid man who went around muttering all sorts of nutty things, her favorite being: “Everybody wants to go to heaven, kid, but nobody wants to die to get there.” In this land of inventors and entrepreneurs, I can't help noticing everybody wants to make a million bucks, but nobody will listen to the plaintive call of neurotic, maybe…but with reason!...and determined mothers across the planet that says: make me a plastic-free sippy. Day after day on this website the dozens of safer sippy hits coming in tells me somebody oughta.

Really I don’t get why the KK people didn’t figure out a different top. If people are shelling out $5 more for a stainless steel water bottle over a #5 plastic one, why not make stainless steel tops. Or those TPE, environmentally sound rubber tops? The Thermos people, I’m not sure they realized our part of the market exists. It seems to me they could tweak their tops pretty easily and make something more satisfying.

But. Sigh. Both options are better than all bisphenol A plastic. Or all ‘safe’ plastic, even, so far as I’m concerned.

Here is my expert advice on sippy cups: if you have a baby less than 2, go for a Foogo. Baby will be able to hold the cup. Change out the water every couple hours or so. If your baby is over two, and if they’re not jealous of their friends with straw flip containers, go for the Klean Kanteen. Both products are, for different reasons and in their own ways, and in the immortal words of Mary Hume, “almost perfect…but not quite.”

At the Greension we don’t use the plain thermos container so much because we picked up lots of stainless steel tiffins in India, and that’s what most of BabyG's snacks are stored in. They’re less bulky -- but I like the Foogo thermos and think one day it'll come in handy. Right now she’s not so much into soups, she’s more a Cheddar Bunny, Grape, and non-chicken Nugget kind of girl.

Despite our hesitations, we also do use the sippys every day. At least, we did until the little plastic part on the lid of the regular sippy fell off and got lost. I’ll send away for a replacement, but for now that sippy is nothing more than a freewheeling fount of water. Until it broke, BabyG loved it. She also loves the straw-sippy, which we still use every day.

Did I mention that in this land of inventors and entrepreneurs, I can't help noticing everybody wants to make a million bucks, but nobody will listen to the plaintive call of neurotic, maybe…but with reason!...and determined mothers across the planet that says: make me a plastic-free sippy. Day after day on this website the dozens of safer sippy hits coming in tells me somebody oughta.


GreenDaddy said...

I dared take away that sippy cup from BabyG once and it was a mistake.

chuck said...

your handwriting suprises me. have i never seen it before? i wonder if you know what mine looks like.

MaGreen said...

actually, that's a downloaded handwriting. bonnie's, i believe.

but i don't think i've seen your handwriting.

Henitsirk said...

From what I can tell, TPE is just polypropylene #5 combined with rubber. Makes it more recyclable, but it's still plastic.

Unfortunately, for sippy cup sippy parts, plastic seems to be the way to go as far as cleanliness.

I suppose the liquids aren't directly exposed to the plastic sippy component for long periods as they would be in a plastic cup.

Mrs. Harridan said...

I just bought my kid a Sigg small bottle for the time when he uses a sippy. I just realized, though, that there are no kid-friendly handles on it ... hmmm. Maybe I'll be making the KK investment.

Samantha said...

Hi...I found this review to be really helpful. I have been looking for an alternative to plastic sippy cups. In particular, I was looking for something in which my child could enjoy her morning cup of tea given the increased risk of leaching with warm liquids. Since her tea is warm, the KK wasn't really a good option for us...but given the Foogo's double wall design, it should be perfect. The Thermos website, however, says flat out it is for cold beverages only...in spite of your friend using it for warm cider in Alaska.

So...to get to the bottom of WHY they say that, I just called and asked. The lady on the Thermos customer service line said that the concern is only because a child could be scalded with hot liquid. Apparently, their lawyers have required the statement about cold only...either that or they think parents are too stupid to avoid putting scalding hot fluid in their containers and burning the wee mouths that will be drinking from them.

Turns out that if the liquid is of an appropriate heat for the munchkin, the container *is* fine for it. Thought I would share this with the others reading this page and save someone from having to reinvent the wheel, so to speak. :)

marybeth said...

Just found your blog...I love it!!

Anonymous said...

It's amazing how few companies have recognized the opportunity to produce safe alternatives to plastic. Most of my mom friends are eager to buy safer things for their kids. We've been using Kleen Kanteen sippys and water bottles for the past year and are pretty happy with them. Now, I'd really like to find kid-sized stainless steel snack containers for lunch boxes or the diaper bag. Pearl River makes some, but they're not quite small enough. Does anyone know of any safe snack containers? Thanks!

GreenDaddy said...

Indian grocery stores usually carry stainless steal snack containers. That's what we use. Patel Brothers is a chain you can find in most big cities. If you have any Indian friends (which I highly recommend), ask them to get you some.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for the tip! I'll give it a try.

twinsmom said...

I am pretty sure I saw at a children's store snack cups made by Foogo (or maybe they were just put next to the Foogo products).

I am curious why you recommend KK over Foogo for older kids? Is it just the sitting water issue?

Thanks very much - this is very helpful as I am belately trying to change up our sippy cups!

Anonymous said...

I was reading your blog and found it very interesting so I relayed some of the content to my husband who is a civil engineer. He said that the majority of water mains (pipes that bring the water to your home) in North America are made from PVC. Does anyone have any additional info on this? If this is actually the case, then I guess me trying to buy a safer sippy cup would have very little effect on the overall picture. Kinda dismal :(

MaGreen said...

yeah, i know about that. it is dismal. i filter our water, though who knows if the pvc residue is filtered out. i just don't like her drinks sitting in that plastic. i can taste the plastic in plastic sippys, sometimes plastic cups.

GreenDaddy said...

I've read that most new pipes in homes are PVC too. But I think there is a difference between using water that is constantly running through your pipes and having your baby drink from water that is sitting in a plastic container. For example, when I take a shower in the morning, by the time I'm done, the water that's been sitting in the pipes overnight has been flushed out. But if my baby drinks from a plastic sippy cup that's been sitting overnight, the chemicals that leached in the water over several hours are still there.

So I think it is worth the effort to remove plastic from the daily vessels that a child uses even though there are PVC pipes running under the house. I think MaGreen's sense of taste detects the difference.

A_Dad said...

I think any parent who doesn't filter their tap water with a heavy duty water filter—something like a Multi-Pure filter if your water isn't flouridated, or a Reverse-Osmosis type or a Berkey with the extra filter for fluoride removal if it is, is seriously missing the point. Tap water is filthy, and unfit to drink.

Ellie Raduns said...

I just found your website, and I saw you referenced just two companies for cups. While doing a Google search I found a Company called SAFE SIPPY. I was wondering if you have heard of it, or if you could do a review on it. I know it still has the #5 top, but it contains all the different lid options and handles. Just thought I would ask, any information would be helpful, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to comment on the Safe Sippy Cups, the design and colors are very nice, but the cups are horrible. They leak, leak, leak!! The bottom of the cups come off when washing and are the hardest to get back on, I could go on, but basically don't waste your $16.95 on these cups, I did and bought 3 and don't even bother to use them now cause they are such a pain.

Anonymous said...

I've been looking for safe cups that are non-breakable, but are open-topped cups. My son is 2, and we'd like to have a safe cup for him, that is not a sippy or straw cup. We have some plastic cups because they are nonbreakable (he's 2!) but I've been unable to find anything like the sippys you describe here that I'm sure can be used with an open top. Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

In reference to PVC piping, yes if you are living in a newer home you will have PVC in your walls. Please note - the concern with those "oh so easy" toss and/or reuse cups is that they are manufactured with "soft" plastic and is more prone to leaching, PVC is not. On a side note any plastics used in microwave has similar effects.

Thanks for the post, we switched to stainless steel water bottles this year as well...the plastic water bottles are taking over the land fills so we are opting for healthier planet and people alternatives.

Melissa K
central VA

Anonymous said...

Have not tried this product but came across it at the babystyle webpage.

"Wee-Go Glass Bottle
from babylife

Go green with glass!

Safe and healthy, the reintroduced glass bottle is 100% non-toxic, non-plastic, BPA and PVC free and a smart alternative to plastic baby bottles! Great for the environment, it can be recycled when baby has outgrown bottles.

A classic design with a safety twist, it has a modern sleeve that protects the bottle from breakage and from bumping into other articles in your diaper bag. Moreover, it provides a great gripping surface during feeding and proves to be a fun, colorful and tactile experience for baby.

Comes with a Stage 2 silicone nipple (designed for infants 3-6 months) that is latex free and non-toxic.

How big is it? Holds up to 9 ounces of liquid

Care Instructions: Bottle and sleeve can be boiled or put in the dishwasher together


we also suggest...

green to grow
BPA-Free Wide-Neck Baby Bottle

think baby Baby Bottles -Twin Pack also available"

Anonymous said...

Has anyone noticed a chemical like smell when you first unscrew the top? I have tried to wash it several times and I frequently change the water but it has this smell like glue or something everytime I first unscrew it and then it's gone. If anyone has noticed this does it go away with time??

Anonymous said...


thanks for the article. i was looking for stainless steel sippy's and you were one of my search options. i am in houston, is there a place here i can get some of the snack tins you mentioned. LOL!!! i do have indian friends!!! i am soooo jealous you were in india :D

if you could e-mail me that would be great!


Anonymous said...

I, too can't stand the taste of water in plastic. I've been searching for something safer than sippy cups now that we are getting out of the bottle phase (we used glass bottles). I just came across these stainless steel sippy cups at this site: Stainless Steel Sippy Cups, googled and found your very informative review. I think I will go ahead and order a few to test them out. Even with a few plastic parts they have to be way better than the all plastic BPA filled kind.


TiredDad said...

We've used the FooGoo sippy and flip-top container w/ straw. We liked both products except for two problems:
1) The sippy top has two parts - a yellow rubber insert. When the insert is taken out to be cleaned, it takes forever to put back in right. And if you don't put it back in just right, it leaks.
2) The flip-top straw eventually breaks from your kid chewing on it. No way to get a replacement. We even tried emailing FooGoo directly, but they're apparently too successful to care to respond now. So you end up throwing out a $20 container b/c of a $2 part.
Given these two I can't really recommend the products now, though you have fairly limited choices.
Even with the FDA admitting that their original BPA plastic is safe report was written by the plastic industry, the bigger companies refuse to make anything useful.

Anonymous said...


check out the safe sippy

milosmama said...

Just found your site--thanks for all the great info! I have a KK for my 1yr. old and love it EXCEPT for the fact that he can't hold it! Have you looked at the Safe Sippy? I'd love to hear your review of it if you can...thanks.

Anonymous said...

don't waste your money on the Safe Sippy - they leak profusely! They are as effective as letting your child drink from an open top cup unassisted.

Anonymous said...

I pretty much have tried all the non plastic options out there and in my opinion the Klean Kanteen is the best. Everyone in my family uses them and we have no issues, plus you can buy extra avent parts at local stores and swap out for a bottle top as well! The Foogo leaked profusely from day one, as have all my other thermos kids cups (straw style). Foogo is not worth the money, the only pro I see for it is that it is not plastic! Getting off plastics is not just about BPA, plastic is an environmental waste nightmare as well as a petroleum based product. So while BPA free plastics are better, glass and stainless steel are best!

Anonymous said...

I found this product at REI: Innate Me-Me Stainless-Steel Sippy Cup - 7.5 fl. oz.
Has anyone tried it yet? I bought a couple, but won't have the opportunity to try it out on a child for some time yet.

Anonymous said...

I have 3 Safe Sippy cups and they work great for us. Yes, it is kind of a pain to take off / put on the rubber sleeve, but they don't leak at all! The only time they leak is if you don't have the rubber gasket on completely. And in response to a previous comment, the straw style Foogo cups do have replacement parts! We ordered some by calling the customer service # on the Thermos website. Our kids have now chewed through our replacement straw top after not too long though, so I'm not so happy about those cups anymore.

Anonymous said...

I have the foogo sippy for my daughter. I thought they were great because of the thermo, and the non plastic container. however its been about a year now and it leaks like a basket around the the loin of the cover and lip. I find that it is complicated to wash as well. But over all I'm not impressed in the product for a $25 cup. I will not be purchasing another.

Mae Hayes said...

So, I'm not positive on this, and I am far from an expert, but I am pretty sure that since the Foogo sippies are made with aluminum (as compared with the 100% stainless steal in KK) that there is a lining on the inside which actually does contain BPA, and other potentially hazardous chemicals. There are a ton of new studies coming out right now about the linings inside of all aluminam food and drink containers...yikes. So, before giving this to your little one, or yourself, check that out as well.

CPSL said...

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Sanyo Seiki said...

Great post sir!

Sanyo Seiki