Welcome to Small Humans, an ongoing series at Mashable that explores how to look after and handle the children in your life. Because Dr. Spock is beautiful and everything, but it's 2018 and we have all the internet we need to deal with.
Internet-subscribed subscription services for direct customers are the new black and bonus points when addressed to a person with children. The new products offer expectant and new parents from smart cradles to leather play mats, and offer a glittering promise to be better, more hands-on, more attentive and caring parents than the previous generation (also known as "your parents"). Upwardly mobile millennials are a keen audience that welcomes the new disturbers in a growing industry. But it can be hard to tell if they really get something better or just that they feel better.
Among the emerging new companies that disrupt decades-old businesses is Yumi, a Los Angeles-based baby food company founded in 2017 with a stated goal to change the way parents think about baby food. With fresh, seasonal offerings that also look beautiful, Yumi hopes for the subscription service model that makes Birchbox popular. They send a selection of baby food with ingredients such as chia seeds, pitaya and quinoa directly to the customer and thus bypass the shelves of grocery stores.
From now on, Yumi will deliver the food in weekly installments to most Western states as well as to the tri-border area around New York City. Parents can either choose their own range of baby food or request a "guided trip" from Yumi, where the company curates the box according to the needs / age of their children.
Partly fueled by fears of obesity, nutrition now focuses heavily on childhood nutrition, which has shifted further down to focus on the first things that babies eat. As with many parenting decisions, the question that once was a simple question – what feeding your baby when it's ready for solid food, has become more complicated. You can choose the baby-assisted weaning method, in which you give your child only small and softer versions of your food and gradually familiarize them with new foods, or you can choose the baby food (ie purees). If you choose the latter, you have the choice of preparing or buying your baby food. If you decide to buy it, you can now add another pre-made baby formula to the mix.
With weekly plans starting at $ 35 or just under $ 6 per glass (the lower the average cost the more you buy), Yumi's target audience is informed, financially secure parents looking for the best and most convenient option – and those are not turned off by the higher cost. The price can be explained by the fact that the food is basically made to order and has a short shelf life – in contrast to the durable baby food available at the supermarket.
Founded by Evelyn Rusli, a former journalist with the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, and Angela Sutherland, who had cut her teeth in private equity, Yumi joined Sutherland after a pregnancy. Like many who expect mothers, Sutherland thought about eating something during pregnancy and what her baby would eat with the first solid foods on the street. "I remember thinking about what I need to know and how important nutrition is," said Sutherland. "Much has been written over the first 1000 days – the Lancet wrote about it. This is the most important time in a person's life for nutrition, be it in the brain or in physical or metabolic development – and it puts a lot of pressure on you as a parent. "
When Sutherland began to read the ingredient lists of the baby food she bought, she found that much of it was filled with "filler" ingredients, such as apple sauce, which made the food rich in fructose and low in nutrients. Sutherland was used to organizing large amounts of data in Excel. She recorded her results in spreadsheets and found that, on average, 50 percent or more of the calories from the foods she studied came from fructose.
Together with Rusli, Sutherland set about creating a product that was set up on the first 1000 days of babies, starting with conception, which pediatricians and child nutrition experts consider extremely important. Before feeding, infants suckle either on breast milk or formula, both of which contain the key nutrients for brand-new, tiny humans.
Of course, because the human palate is sweet, babies naturally attract sweets – bananas or sweet potatoes – and may need some encouragement to eat foods with naturally occurring bitterness such as kale and broccoli.
When I tried to figure out how to feed my baby body, all I could do was make the food myself. After looking at many labels in the stores and checking ingredients, sugar levels, vitamins, etc., I came to the conclusion that baby food is not only expensive, but also relatively unhealthy (since many calories come from sugar supplied mainly in China becomes the form of apple and pear sauces) and aggravated my child's natural liking for the sweet taste. As food writer and editor I wanted to give my baby whole ingredients and at the same time limit the amount of sugar in his food. I had also hoped to get him excited about real food he could see, not food that lay in an opaque package. So I took advantage of what many mothers did before me and have done since then. I started making baby food in the evenings after coming home from work and leaving my baby for the night.
It was pretty easy to prepare his food while he cooked dinner. I steamed with squash, carrots or sweet potatoes, and when it's done, purée it with some steam water. As my baby got older, I started using more ingredients and spices. I knew what I put in my baby food and because it was not difficult to prepare – steaming and pureeing are straightforward – I joined in until my child was old enough to eat whole foods and lose interest in his baby food ,
In addition to enjoying the food, I also liked the low-waste aspect of my work. I would compost the vegetable and / or fruit scraps, use (and reuse) glass jars, and for a fraction of the baby food I bought in the store I could prepare enough to give me breakfast, lunch, snacks and dinner for a week. In addition, I felt above average.
The ingredients of Yumi relate primarily to local organic farms near their California location. Yumi's offer aims to pack a nutrient punch while the food contains as little fructose and gluten as possible. To accustom babies to different tastes, Rusli and Sutherland add some of their blends.
In the name of research, I decided to try the food I wrote about before I write about it. I received 6 glasses (compliments from Yumi) filled with: minestrone soup, cran squash soup, kabocha buckwheat, a peach sweet potato mix with coconut milk, a cabbage pear and white bean mix and porridge made of pitaya, sweet potatoes and quinoa among other ingredients. They were delicious, at least for my taste buds. If I wanted to feed a baby, did not want to prepare my own food, and had the money for it, I would definitely order from Yumi.
For me, the two main questions were the affordability and the environmental impact: can you afford to buy these foods, or is it easier to prepare food yourself? And while the roadside glasses are recyclable, the impact of China's rejection of recyclable plastics has gotten some people into a cucumber when it comes to what to do with their discarded plastics. However, it is also worth noting that baby food bags are generally not recyclable at all.
And if parents feel financially constrained or worried about their carbon footprint, Yumi will share their recipes and feeding tips to help families and, if necessary, provide advice on what kind of child a restaurant menu will order can. And while you initially feel judged and rejected by the promise to be a "better gourmet", the ultimate goal is to help families provide their children with better food and give them the opportunity to prepare the food themselves ,
After all, there is a disruption that can do something good.
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