Nurture Life is a Chicago-based direct-to-consumer service that delivers fresh, healthy, and prepped meals to time-poor and busy parents of young kids - and a speaker on the 'Where next for babyfood?' panel at the FoodNavigator-USA FOOD FOR KIDS summit in Chicago Nov 12-14.
"The reason we developed Nurture Life was to provide families with a meal time solution that they could feel really good about that was also convenient, and what we mean by that is fresh, wholesome, nutritionally balanced meals without compromise," Chow told FoodNavigator-USA.
The options for healthy kids options that are also convenient are scarce, according to Chow.
"One of the biggest gaps we find with younger kids today in terms of their eating is that they're not eating enough real foods. Many toddlers and young kids tends to be eating a fair amount of processed foods, a lot of carbohydrates and one of the things that we really focus on at Nurture Life is trying to introduce that balance and making sure we introduce kids to more fresh foods and real foods in a more true form."
Chow said that Nurture Life's products, which range from three baby product lines divided into three stages and prepped meals for toddlers and older kids, are formulated by a team of registered dietitians alongside the company's R&D chef, and are prepped and packaged on site at its Chicago office.
The company has made a concerted effort to make sure its meals included a healthy amount of lean proteins, produce, and whole grains, Chow added.
Parents and picky eaters
According to Chow, children aren't necessarily born as picky eaters with an innate preference for certain foods over others, and with the proper amount of fortitude, parents can expand their kids' palates she says, although it can be difficult.
"With the right amount of coaching and persistence you can get a picky eater to have a much more expansive palate, but it does take a lot of work on the parents' part and it takes a lot of persistence. And it's so hard to do that in many cases because we want to please our kids and we want them to be happy with what they're eating."
For example, when Chow introduced her three-year-old to Nurture Life's version of a 'sloppy joe' made with beets and carrots, the meal wasn't a favorite right away.
"He didn't want to take a bite. It took four tries (over the course of a few weeks) before he started to take a few bites of the meal. Now he looks at a [Nurture Life] sloppy joe and gobbles it up," she said.
But it's also important to not offer an alternative to the meal if a child refuses the healthier option, Chow added.
Where next for Nurture Life?
Nurture Life has been shipping its products for a little over two years and currently has over 4,000 active customers across 35 states with the goal of reaching all 50 states within the next few quarters, Chow said.
"We've certainly been growing very rapidly. We want to continue to expand geographically, but we are also looking to expand our product lines so that we can continue to help families solve the meal time challenges for their children."
Catch Jennifer at our FOOD FOR KIDS summit this Nov. 12- 14 in Chicago. Register HERE.