FOOD FOR KIDS: Ice-cream startup Peekaboo building a 'hidden veggie empire', says founder

By Kacey Culliney

- Last updated on GMT

Ice-cream startup Peekaboo building a 'hidden veggie empire', says founder

Related tags Food for kids

Miami-based startup Peekaboo is developing a range of vegan ice-cream variants to join its line of organic-certified, hidden veggie products targeting kids and adults looking for guilt-free indulgence.

Founded in January this year, Peekaboo has a line of flavored ice-creams, with each 14oz carton containing one 'hidden' vegetable ingredient.

Its strawberry variety, for example, contains carrots; its chocolate flavor cauliflower; and cotton candy variant added beetroot. Available online for $10 a carton and in various retailers nationwide, including Whole Foods, Safeway and Weis Markets, Peekaboo plans to expand its distribution footprint this year as well as broaden its portfolio.

'We have several vegan flavors in the pipeline'

Jessica Weiss Levison, founder of Peekaboo, said part of this expansion would see the brand stretch into the vegan space.

“We have several vegan flavors in the pipeline, as well as a few favorites with a twist,”​ said Levison, who will be speaking at FoodNavigator-USA's FOOD FOR KIDS summit​ in Chicago in November.

Asked what the replacement to its organic-certified dairy ingredient would be for the vegan products, she said we would have to “stay tuned” ​but it would certainly still be organic.

The vegan products, she said, would be available online in the Fall of this year and hit shelves nationwide in the Spring of 2020.

Peekaboo-ice creams

'It took a year of tinkering'

Talking about the current Peekaboo range – a total of five flavors – Levison said the products had taken time to develop.

“It took a year of tinkering to get the flavor profile just right, and then even more time to refine and perfect the texture and consistency.”

Peekaboo still does its R&D work in Levison's Miami-based scoop shop Serendipity, she said, to get consumer feedback when developing new flavors. However, she added: “You are more likely to see my dad behind the counter these days, as I am off building a hidden veggie empire.”

The idea to launch a hidden veggie ice-cream brand, Levison said, came after struggling to make mealtime with her own children more nutritious “without drama.

“In a desperate attempt to get my own kids to eat veggies and tired of looking for that rogue pea that rolled under the sofa in a dinnertime rage, I thought, there has to be an easier solution. Since I have been making ice cream for my Miami-based scoop shop for the last 10 years, I figured I am well-positioned to hack it.

“The idea struck to slowly sneak increasing amounts of veggies into their ice-cream that would be imperceptible in taste,”​ she said.

Peekaboo's chocolate ice-cream, for example, contains enough cauliflower to contribute 10% of the daily requirement for vitamin A, calcium and riboflavin per serve; the strawberry with hidden carrots 20% of vitamin C daily requirements; and the mint chip with hidden spinach 25% of vitamin a daily needs and 10% iron.

peekaboo range

So, is the product just for kids?

No, in short, Levison said. While kids are core consumers – introducing them to the idea that “veggies are approachable” ​– she said the main target consumer group is “the overachieving parent”​ who is choosing products for his or her kids but also“everyone that wants to indulge and feel better about it”.

“[The product] bridges the gap between what we can't get enough of (ice cream) and what we don't get enough of (veggies),” ​she said.

"Peekaboo makes veggies accessible to all.”

Interested in developing products for children?

Join Jessica Levison at our second FOOD FOR KIDS summit​ in Chicago November 18-20, which features an incredible lineup of speakers from Kraft Heinz, Mondelez, Ocean Spray, and Chobani, to AccelFoods, Yumble, Curion, Freeli Foods, The Clean Label Product, Mattson, Beansprouts, Fresh Bellies, Peekaboo Ice Cream, Ohio State University, William & Mary, Brainiac Kids, Raised Real, Euromonitor, SPINS, KRa, Yummy Spoonfuls, and Serendipity Kids, Full details HERE​. 


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