Every night after I put my kids to bed, I look at the unfathomable mess that is both my house and my clothing, and I reassure myself that tomorrow will be different. I imagine waking up two hours ahead of everyone, whipping together organic, locally-sourced produce for breakfast, mixing in some whole grains, and arranging it on a plate in an enticing design – maybe a reindeer or a snowman. Dare to dream, right?
The next thing I know there are two children in my bed, drool on my pillow, and I realize we’re nearly late for school. I feel like I’m constantly saying to myself, “I’ll get it next time,” when I’m reheating leftovers from who knows when or picking up squeeze packets at the grocery store. Reality is guilt and a waning sugar high.
When I heard about Yumi’s farm to high-chair baby food delivery concept, I literally couldn’t sign up fast enough.
“We started with a question,” Yumi’s founders Angela Sutherland and Evelyn Rusli told me. “If we had unlimited time, resources, and a team of nutritionists, how would we go about nourishing our children?”
Ideally, I want organic foods that are fresh, low in sugar, diverse, and nutrient dense. But who has time for that? That’s Yumi’s meal plan in a nutshell.
Yumi’s food gets to your kitchen in a matter of days - not weeks, or even months - like other brands. Launched in June, Yumi has already developed more than 50 flavors (and counting), introducing new ingredients like pitaya, spirulina, and curry to your child’s developing palate. What’s more, they consult with a team of nutritionists to make sure each bite is appealing and also packed with nutrients like iron, folate, and calcium. If you’re like me, you know your child needs these things, but you don’t always know where to find them.
What sold me is that Yumi is based on an “every meal matters” approach to food. Thank goodness, because I’ve promised myself “this won’t happen again” more times than I’d like to admit.
More than food, Yumi recently rolled out content, which has already answered questions I’ve been asking myself as a new parent for years. Did you know breastfeeding burns 20 calories an ounce? You’re welcome. I also now know all the signs to look for that my child is (or isn’t) getting enough calories.
This week, we sat down with Sutherland and Rusli, the superwomen behind Yumi, to learn more. And before you write this idea off as “amazing, but unaffordable,” pricing is actually right in line with what you’re likely already paying for organic squeezies, puffs, cheddar bunnies, or ingredients for your baby’s food, Whole Foods or otherwise. Subscriptions start at $35/week, and you can cancel at anytime.
Yumi Co-Founders Angela Sutherland and Evelyn Rusli
THERE SEEM TO BE A LOT OF BABY FOOD STARTUPS THIS YEAR! ASIDE FROM YOUR FANTASTIC BABY FOOD, WHAT SETS YUMI APART?
Yumi is a full 360-degree support system. We have a team of experts standing by to help answer parenting questions via e-mail, even those unrelated to food. In addition, we have an online journal, which features nutrition guides, recipes, and inspiring stories from the front lines of parenting. We also post daily on our social channels, which moms can follow @Yumi.
HOW DO YOU VET RECIPES?
We work extensively with a team of nutritionists, chefs, and doctors to make sure our meals are intelligently designed to support babies’ development at every stage. It’s surprising how many of the products on stores shelves miss the mark on some of the basics of good nutrition. Not only do we make sure each meal is nutrient dense, but we also carefully curate the set of meals you get to make sure your baby is getting the best balance of nutrients.
CAN BABIES EAT YOUR MEAL PLANS EXCLUSIVELY?
When it comes to feeding your kids, there is no one “right way” - every parent should do what works best for their family. Our goal is to be a support system for parents, no matter how they choose to nourish their child. We know that every parent has their own preferences and individual needs; but for those who do wish to lean on our service entirely, yes, parents could give our meals to their baby exclusively.
WHAT IS YOUR MOST COMMON SUBSCRIPTION PACKAGE?
We have subscribers with babies of all ages, so it really ranges! Most start out with our basics (single-ingredient purees) when their babies traditionally start solids (around 5-6 months) and then transition to our blends as they get older. Our mixed boxes are very popular with new customers because they allow kids and parents alike to try a little bit of everything.
WHAT ARE YOUR FOOD CONTAINERS MADE OF?
Safety is one of our highest priorities. Our containers are securely heat-sealed and made of high-quality plastic that is both BPA and PET free. They have an elegant look and feel, similar to glass, but are shatterproof and easier to handle, making them a much safer option. Pro-tip: parents can reuse for wine or champagne. :)
CAN YOU HEAT THE FOOD IN THE CONTAINER IT COMES IN?
Food can be served straight from the jar, but it should be transferred to a microwave-safe container for heating.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL SHIPMENT LOOK LIKE, VOLUME-WISE?
Shipments are 1-2 trays, with each tray holding 6 jars, and each jar contains 4.5oz of fresh food.
WHAT AGE RANGES ARE YOU SERVING?
Babies typically start on our food around 5-6 months, and there really is no age limit! Parents, and even adults without children, have enjoyed our food as a quick, healthy snack. We also want to grow with our customers, so we have plans to roll out snacks and finger foods as babies grow into toddlers. Stay tuned!
WHERE DO YOU DELIVER?
Currently we deliver throughout California, as well as to select areas in Arizona, Nevada, and Utah.
DO YOU PUBLISH RECIPES FOR MOMS WHO WANT TO MAKE SUPPLEMENTARY MEALS AT HOME?
Recipe sharing is a huge part of the content on our site. We want all moms to consider us a helpful resource, even if they live in a state where we aren’t currently delivering. Our goal is to educate and inform parents everywhere about the importance of nutrition and provide them easy tips on how to instill healthy habits in their family. Hopefully some of our recipes that feature more exotic ingredients like rose water, for example, will encourage them to cook and eat more adventurously.
FOR MOMS WHO CAN’T GET YUMI, WHAT ARE THE BEST PRE-MADE BRANDS MOMS CAN FIND AT THEIR LOCAL GROCERY STORE?
Since Yumi is really the next best thing to cooking yourself, fresh from scratch, the healthiest and most convenient option at the grocery store would be to buy an assortment of organic, pre-chopped fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables. These can be portioned, steamed where appropriate, and then whizzed in a blender, using our recipe and nutrition guides for inspiration.
HOW OFTEN DO YOUR RECIPES CHANGE?
Our meal offerings change weekly, and we are always adding new, seasonal recipes to our master database! Our menu is constantly evolving and growing to include the healthiest and most seasonal ingredients.
HOW IS YUMI’S FOOD REGULATED?
The facility that we make our food in is HAACP certified, USDA and FDA compliant.
DO YOU PUBLISH NUTRITION FACTS?
Yes, all nutrition facts are printed on the trays within each delivery box.
When I signed up, Rusli told me that San Francisco startups were already requesting subscriptions for their (adult) employees because they loved Yumi’s convenient and tasty blended offerings. I was dubious until I received my first shipment. I immediately changed my plan from basics (one ingredient only) to include blends, mostly so that I could eat them, too. The only problem is that I find myself reaching for them before my kids can even get to them. Oh, and they do double nicely as shatter-proof wine glasses. Eat, rinse, pour, relax. FINALLY!
Parents can read more and subscribe at helloyumi.com. They literally had me at hello.
All photos courtesy of Yumi.