FIRST THOUGHT: (Baby) Food for Thought
If you’ve ever been around babies, you know that they’re cute but demanding little creatures. They eat, poop, sleep, repeat. Their level of happiness varies unpredictably. As they grow, though, they make monumental steps. They learn to hold their heads up, make eye contact and smile.
This isn’t far off from how we are as women. Remember when you were an 18-year-old know-it-all? Today, think about how far you’ve come. Ignore the mistakes. Reject the regrets. Give yourself a pat on the back for coming so far.
WOMEN IN NUMBERS: 3 Out of 4
One of the things that has seen quite the evolution is the food we eat. According to the USDA, organic food sales make up more than 4 percent of food sales in the United States. And three out of four conventional grocery stores carry organic food. Yum!
What’s most curious is that it’s not just the stereotypical Portlandia characters who buy organic. The USDA found that there isn’t one typical type of consumer who purchases organic food. People buy organic because they’re interested in their health, animal welfare and the environment. It’s becoming increasingly mainstream.
WOMAN TO WATCH: Caroline Freedman, Co-founder of NurturMe
Caroline Freedman was quick to notice this increase in organic-food purchases as well as sustainability concerns and a demand for convenient packaging. When Freedman was sitting at home with her first child and researching baby food online, she realized that not a lot has changed since those early Gerber days when moms (like me) fed their babies pureed food from glass jars.
She came up with an idea to radically transform the baby-food industry. She put on her entrepreneur hat and got started. First things first: She needed a buddy, so she partnered with longtime friend Lauren McCullough. Then, they started NurturMe.
What struck Freedman and McCullough about baby food was the clunky packaging. A few glass jars of baby food in your baby bag can really weigh a parent down. In order to make the food lighter, they’d have to restructure the food itself.
By heating the food for 30 to 60 seconds, air drying and grinding it into powder form, this process not only made the baby food much lighter, but also more nutritious. All you have to do is mix the powder with breast milk, formula or water, and—voila!—you’ve got baby food of the future—now!
After NurturMe launched at an expo in 2011, Freedman learned half of their customers were using it to sneak nutrition into their kids’ diets. Pretty sneaky and smart, huh?
NurturMe has expanded its product line and was the first and remains the only brand to offer certified-organic, pure quinoa products for toddlers in lieu of traditional rice cereal. In 2015, EcoEnterprises Fund gave NurturMe $1.5 million in growth-expansion capital. NurturMe is now in about 3,000 stores nationwide, and Freedman hopes to develop a smart exit strategy to sell the company.
This first-time entrepreneur and mother of three had to work hard to get where she is today. During one of her first pitches early on, she was only one of two women out of 10 entrepreneurs in the room. Later on, when she had to give a 20-minute pitch while pregnant, she was worried it would deter investors. Of course, that didn’t stop her from slinging on her heels and talking passionately about her baby, NurturMe.
QUITE THE QUOTE
Starting your kids off right with a balanced, healthy diet is smart. But don’t give up on your own strides to eat healthy. If you’re trying to decide between a salad and a burrito for lunch, remember this quote from co-founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, John Mackey, who said:
“A healthy diet is a solution to many of our health-care problems. It’s the most important solution.”
That’s all for now. Be sure to share this so more women can have a voice! Thanks for getting ready with us.
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