Broccoli, Swiss chard and garlic. Cauliflower and bell peppers. Golden beets and thyme. Wondering what trendy new bistro is serving these audacious dishes? Wonder no more. They are as close as your local supermarket. In the refrigerated section. Under “Baby Food.”
Saskia Sorrosa had an exciting career—VP of Marketing for the NBA. She had not a thought in her mind of starting her own business. All she wanted to do was find nutritious, preservative-free food for her young daughters. She wanted vegetables to be the “main attraction,” but instead, she found that vegetables were mixed with a disproportionate amount of fruit, depriving children of the fullness of flavor found in well-prepared, well-seasoned vegetables. She came across tips on how to get children to eat vegetables, such as mix them into pancake batter, douse them with spaghetti sauce, or tuck them into that scoop of ice cream. Ice cream! Really?
She thought back to her childhood growing up in Ecuador on a farm, watching the vegetables grow, seeing them harvested, Mother preparing them with herbs and seasonings and starting Saskia off on a lifetime of adventurous and healthy eating. And that’s what she wanted for her girls, so she cooked their food rather than succumb to prepared baby food that preferred sweet over savory, that would dull rather than awaken their palates. Gradually, she introduced new vegetables, new flavors, new seasonings. Her mission was not only to serve her daughters healthy food but also to develop their palates so that they delighted in trying new foods—for the rest of their lives. She found that others wanted that for their children also and, after careful planning, she became founder and RFO (Real Flavor Officer) of Fresh Bellies. All the experience and expertise that propelled her NBA career gave her a solid entrepreneurial foundation, including business development, brand marketing, product launches, package design and customer relations.
Saskia traded in her office high above Fifth Avenue with the iconic view of the New York City skyline for a table in a tent at farmers’ markets. And she gloried in it. She developed relationships with the farming community, her food sources, and with her customers, so that she could learn their stories, what they want for their children, and explain the mission of Fresh Bellies: to train babies’ palates to appreciate a variety of flavors, colors and textures from the very first bite. Years of scientific research have determined that as the means of warding off childhood obesity and preventing children from being burdened with a lifetime of picky eating.
The packaging is parent- and child-friendly. Parents can easily see what is in the clear container, as can children, and the enclosed spoon helps develop fine motor skills. Compare, for instance, to the pouch. Drinking food is not as satisfying as eating it, plus the child misses out on the pleasure of tasting a variety of textures. Besides, someday a child will get around to using eating utensils; the pouch is not preparing her for that.
Fresh Bellies also provides freeze-dried snacks: “Two to Mango” with mango, coconut oil and basil and “Pepperlicious” with red bell peppers, sunflower oil and sea salt. The snacks also help the little ones enjoy a variety of flavors. (And we “big ones” enjoy them also!)