10 Parent-Owned Health Food CompaniesVivian Manning-Schaffel
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When we were growing up, nutritious, mass-produced food offerings for kids were slim to none. But over the past 20+ years, a number of brands were launched by parents, for parents to provide healthier food options for kids. Here are 10 brands that were inspired by parenthood and revolutionized the kid food scene as we know it!
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Stunned by the lack of healthy and convenient foods for kids, dad Steve Gelerman was inspired to launch Ians Natural Foods in 2001 (he named the brand after his son). Today, Ians — now owned by Montreal-based investment firm, Claridge Inc. — has over 50 product offerings, including frozen pizzas, breakfast options, and snack foods, that can be readily be found in supermarkets all over the country.
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Before her son Cato was born, Gigi Lee Chang aspired to groom him into an adventurous eater by making organic baby food from scratch. This inspired her to launch Plum Organics in 2006, a line of gently cooked, minimally processed baby food for parents who are too busy to blend. You can find Plum Organics foods on the shelves of over 1,500 retailers nationwide, including biggies like Whole Foods and Babies R Us.
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Back in 1989, Annie Withey, an organic farmer, wife, and mother of two, set out to develop an all-natural macaroni and cheese recipe. Today, recession-proof Annies Inc. food products are sold at major grocery stores throughout the U.S. and have found their way into many of our freezers.
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4: Tasty Brand
With four kids between them, close friends Liane Weintraub and Shannan Swanson launched Tasty Brand foods in 2006 because they were unable to find a more nutritious substitute for the high-fructose corn syrup-laden gummy vitamins their kids were addicted to. Today, they offer consumers a variety of products, including organic cereals, snacks, and technologically advanced, frozen foods that use blast freezing (freezing food within minutes) to preserve vitamin content. Even their packaging is chemical-free!
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When Rachel Berliner was pregnant with daughter (and brand namesake) Amy, she couldnt stand long enough to cook and found the frozen-food offerings available both unhealthy and flavorless. This inspired Rachel and her husband, Andy, to launch Amys Kitchen in 1987, an organic frozen-meal brand for the whole family. Today, Amys Kitchen holds an impressive 70 percent of the organic frozen foods market!
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Inspired by a friend who found it difficult to make her own baby food as a working mom, marketing guru Shazi Visram created a business that gives kids a healthy start while supporting sustainable agriculture. HappyBaby includes convenient frozen and organic baby and toddler foods that come in innovative flavor combinations. After just a few years on the market, theyre now sold in over 5,000 stores across the country.
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Mother-daughter team Susan Johnson and Kerry Johnson Anthony believe that no one should have to go without chocolate. Thus sprang Xan Confections in 2009, a brand of all-natural chocolates, including non-dairy, gluten-free, vegan, low-glycemic, and low-calorie lines. Their chocolate with benefits CocoXan line includes CocoPreggers, (inspired by Kerrys own pregnancy), which is chocolate infused with DHA and folic acid. Their products are sold at shops throughout the U.S.
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Once they had children, Natures Path founders Arran and Ratana Stephens launched sub-brand EnviroKidz to provide a lower sugar, organic cereal option for families. Launched in 2000, it was the first certified organic cereal in North America and it was designed to give back; 1 percent of EnviroKidz sales are donated to species and habitat conservation or education programs for kids. To date theyve raised over a million dollars!
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This UK brand is a labor of love by Paul Lindley, who started the company in 2005 out of frustration at the lack of healthy to-go foods available for his daughter, Ella. Today, Ellas Kitchen produces baby food and smoothie fruits in interesting blends for tiny palates, like carrots, apples, and parsnips, and is growing by leaps and bounds its now available in major retailers (Target, Babies R Us) stateside!
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With six kids among them, integrative doctor Drew Francis, life coach Breck Costin, digital media expert Gordon Gould, and his real-life partner, entrepreneur Courtney Nichols, launched SmartyPants as a way to solve the "picky eater" problem. The result: nutrient-packed gummy vitamins that kids actually want to eat. And, for every bottle sold, the company makes a matching 1-for-1 nutrient grant to a child in need through a partnership with Vitamin Angels.
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