This week’s post comes to us from Talia Moore from Tummy Thyme. Read more to learn about the importance of her CTO, how they are disrupting a typically shelf-stable category, and what their pandemic pivot was like. As a parent who knows the anxiety inducing task of preparing nutritious and wholesome foods that your opinionated toddler will actually like, I find the values behind Tummy Thyme to be spot on!
How did you come up with the idea for your brand?
Tummy Thyme was never meant to be a business. It grew organically, and by chance. When our daughter was transitioning to solids, I looked at what food was available commercially. I couldn’t find anything that I would be happy to feed her. As a health- conscious foodie, I decided to prepare my own. When I shared what I was making in my Mommy and Me group, the moms convinced me to double batch. They were having the same difficulty finding food they were comfortable feeding their little ones. Over the following few months word got around and before long, we were feeding families across Los Angeles. Eventually, our cottage industry was born. When it became too large to continue operating from home, we moved into our first commercial kitchen.
What do your kids think of Tummy Thyme? How much do they affect your decision making process?
Our daughter Mayani is our CTO (Chief Tasting Officer). The buck has always begun and stopped with her : ) She has grown up on Tummy Thyme (and is still a customer to this day). When Mayani has play dates at home, we often serve Tummy Thyme to her friends so by default, they are part of our taste testing!
What problem are you solving with your brand’s products?
When we opened our doors in 2016, it was because of our mission to improve the quality of commercially prepared children's food. There are many challenges in this space, but one of the most concerning is that shelf-stable baby jars and pouches can sit on the shelf for up to two years before it reaches a baby. That means these products have to be pumped full of preservatives, which is hardly the gold standard for our vulnerable children. Tummy Thyme meals, on the other hand, have undergone little to no processing or refinement. Immediately after cooking, we freeze our food, locking in important vitamins and minerals without the need for preservatives. Five years on we are still totally committed to using organic ingredients sourced from farmers and suppliers who support sustainable practices in the food they sell. Our products are free of preservatives, additives & added sugar. Every menu item we create gives confidence to parents who want to feel truly good about what they feed their children.
What is the biggest lesson you learned growing the brand during the pandemic?
Companies need to be flexible. Before the pandemic we were a predominantly Farmer’s Market business. Almost overnight COVID-19 changed everything. Markets closed so our small online footprint suddenly became our primary sales vehicle. We underwent a steep learning curve in the IT space made easier by parents reaching out to us to say how important Tummy Thyme was to their children. So very quickly we had to pivot to an online model and that meant changing almost everything, from our packaging to distribution. We have been blessed with the support we receive from parents, some of whom are now second and third generation buyers. We have expanded our range to provide meals for babies and toddlers, and we have a growing supplier base that is proud to partner with us.
Why do you tell customers your products are the best?
We are the only children’s food company that we know in the United States that does not come from a marketing or investment banking background. We never modeled our business after seeing a market opportunity and thought let’s capitalize on this! We are health-conscious parents and passionate foodies who understand that lifelong eating habits are created in the first few years of life. We may be getting bigger every year and reaching more families, but we have never lost sight of our core mission: to provide a pathway for healthy eating so that children start their culinary journey with the healthiest and most nutritious food available. Food, I might add that children love!