Yumi's Baby Food Delivery Service Is The Latest Life Hack for Healthy Families
From the dozens of pre-prepped options in every market's kids food aisle, it's clear that meal time has never been easier for on-the-go parents. But not all of those plastic packaged snacks and pureed packets (many filled with added sugars) may not be healthy as the labels claim — and for health-conscious moms and dads who swear by on-demand apps like Postmates and services like Blue Apron, there's a new brand that's here to simplify the healthy grocery shopping experience.
Meet Yumi, a new wellness company dedicated to delivering fresh, healthy meals for babies and kids straight to their doorsteps. Founded by Angela Sutherland and Evelyn Rusli, the brand whips up organic, nutrient-rich, and allergen-free (yup, no gluten, dairy, soy, or nuts) purees without overpacking them with fruit sugar. Speaking of packing, the brand's completely curbside-recyclable packaging is delivered with reusable ice backs in compostable insulation.
Pricing starts at $50 per week for six jars (choose from basic or blended) and monthly discounted subscriptions are also available. Though Yumi is currently only available in California, there are plans to eventually expand to the east coast by next year and to branch out to products as well. Below, read on to learn about Yumi's story, where it hopes to be in five years (hint: there may be something in store for mamas-to-be), and more, then order their wholesome baby grub online here.
How did the two of you meet, and can you describe the "a-ha" moment that inspired you to really pursue your idea for Yumi?
Angela Sutherland: We were introduced through Evelyn’s fiancé and have been friends for five years. As we have gotten to know each other through the years, we realized that despite our very different backgrounds and skillsets, we share very similar thoughts and values on how to build businesses and brands.
The "a-ha" moment for Yumi came after the birth of my first child, Elodie. As a working mom, I was presented with one of two options: either feel like I was compromising at the grocery store or feel pressured to cook every meal. Feeding my child became such a source of stress, and I knew that if I felt this way, other moms were likely feeling that pressure too.
What surprised you most about other brand-name/organic baby foods and their ingredients?
Sutherland: For a long time, the market for baby food has been astonishingly broken and full of products that are high in fruit sugar, low in nutrition and older than your baby. In my research, I was shocked to find that most baby food brands derive more 50% or more of their calories from fructose. Just as adults shouldn’t be drinking juice all day long, babies don’t need that much fruit in their diet. I was so surprised that there weren’t healthier options available, that also offered the convenience of being delivered to your doorstep.
We love that all of the packaging is recyclable and that all unused food is donated to Impact LA. How important was it to you both to incorporate being socially-conscious/sustainable into your business model, and how did you do it?
Evelyn Rusli: We obsess over every detail that goes into the food, but we also tried to think about the entire consumer experience with our brand from end to end.
Our packaging is not only functional and well designed, it was important to us that it be sourced in an eco-conscious way and also convenient for the consumer to discard. We use thermal-liners in our boxes that are made of recycled materials, as well as gel-packs that are non-toxic and non-caustic. Our packaging, including our jars, are curbside recyclable, the insulation is compostable and our ice packs are reusable, making the entire process virtually waste-free. That’s also why we give any unused food to Impact LA. We are also always looking for ways both big and small to give back to our community and find ways to feed more families.
Which Yumi foods are your and your kids' personal faves?
Sutherland: My 1-year-old son loves the ratatouille, the cran squash soup, the mulligatawny, and the dragon fruit chia. My 3-year-old daughter loves the lentil soup and the dragon fruit chia.
Since Yumi is currently only available in California, do you have plans to expand to other states and if so, by when?
Rusli: This is definitely a concept we’re planning to expand nationally, one region at a time, through a hub-and-spoke business model. We hope to be on the east coast by early 2018. With overnight shipping we can have coverage across the 48 states, and we’re also quickly developing our product line. We already have 40 SKUs, and we are planning to add finger foods and snacks very soon.
You both quit your careers to pursue Yumi — what were your thoughts before making that final decision?
Sutherland: A few weeks after our initial conversations about building a company, everything happened pretty quickly. Evelyn left the Wall Street Journal, I left my private equity firm. I was extremely nervous to start my own venture, especially in a new industry that was completely unfamiliar. I had a million questions and there was so much I clearly didn’t know, but I knew that if I focused on every little detail fear would get the best of me.
Ultimately, we both felt drawn to this mission and had overwhelming faith in our vision - so we rolled up our sleeves and just decided to do it. Once we made the leap to entrepreneurship, we never looked back.
Rusli: After years covering startups, it’s hard not to see entrepreneurship as a powerful vehicle to create positive impact at scale. For me, the timing just felt right — I was eager to test new skills, and was passionate about creating a brand that would truly disrupt the industry and change the way people think about feeding their family. As much as I love journalism, I loved the idea of spending every day building towards a singular goal.
When you're not busy with Yumi, what are your favorite ways to unwind?
Sutherland: I really like going to Soul Cycle, or doing any intense workout. It’s a way for me to clear my mind and exhaust myself so I can go to sleep without my mind racing.
Where do you hope to see Yumi in the next five years?
Rusli: In building this brand, our goal is to not only offer a product that makes mealtime a more convenient and enjoyable experience, but to also build a community that serves as a 360-degree support system for millennial parents. We plan to build out a lot of interesting content on our website that will offer fresh perspectives and helpful advice. As far as our product offerings, our priority is to focus on early childhood development and nutrition so we could also go backward, with products catered towards women who are prenatal or postnatal.
We'd love to know more about you two. What are your favorite beauty or skincare products?
Sutherland: I’m not a big make-up wearer but I love cleansing my skin so I have a long cleaning process. My favorite new tool is this micro needling roller that I think really makes my skin glow.
Rusli: These days, my beauty routine is pretty minimal but if there’s one thing I do religiously, it’s sunblock. One of my favorites is Josh Rosebrook Nutrient Day Cream with SPF 30. I like to keep one in my bathroom and one in my bag for quick refreshes throughout the day.
What's your best advice for mothers who work full time (either in an office or at home) who want to turn their passion project into their main business?
Sutherland: Nothing can truly prepare you for owning your own company, but if you are passionate about your idea and the product or service you want to share with the world, my advice would be to trust your instincts and your vision, and just go for it. Along the way, lean on people who have skills that you don’t and can offer guidance and advice that will help you grow. Being an entrepreneur has taught me that the best companies are those that have a strong network of people who want it to succeed.