Nutrition and wellness have exploded in recent years providing many food choices that nourish, support, and heal our adult bodies. Surprisingly, the same options have not been as readily available for our little ones — even though their brains need more nutritional support than any other life stage. It was from this gap in the market that Yumi was born. Founders Angela Sutherland and Evelyn Rusli saw the lack of easy, accessible, and high-quality, organic baby food. Understanding the needs of busy parents and also of growing bodies, they created a direct-to-consumer plant-based food service for all stages of baby and child development. We sat down with them to learn more about the ways they’re continuing to pioneer the baby food industry and the importance of child nutrition.
Q: What is Yumi all about?
A: Yumi is a health and food sciences company built to feed the next generation. We are a direct-to-consumer, organic, plant-based food service offering meals and snacks tailored to all stages of development, starting with the very first bites. At Yumi, we have a “Food is Pharma” approach. Yumi was founded on the premise that the first 1,000 days are nutritionally the most important phase of someone’s life. Yumi provides parents with not only organic meals and snacks for toddlers and babies but also the latest educational materials and access to on-staff nutritionists. Our mission has been to provide an experience for families that is so much more than just better-for-you food.
We’re realizing more and more that the source of our food has become as important as the types of foods we ingest. How does Yumi source their foods and suppliers?
At Yumi, we are obsessed with high-quality, organic ingredients sourced from local farmers and we are hyper-focused on ensuring every ingredient has a purpose. All of our products are made only from certified organic ingredients by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) through the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) that are free from preservatives, added sugars, toxic chemicals, hormones, GMOs, and pesticides. Knowing that the issue around heavy metals is also a huge concern for parents, we have dedicated an entire landing page that outlines to our community how we source our ingredients, and our commitment to setting higher standards in the industry — because we believe that our children deserve better.
You have an amazing panel of Health & Medical Advisors. How do they collaborate with Yumi?
A notable difference for Yumi is that our approach for creating our baby and toddler food products is rooted in science. Our extensive library of research and our board of nutrition and pediatric experts guide everything we do. Research has shown us that getting proper nutrition from the earliest age has a direct impact on future health outcomes. We regularly work with our medical advisors to ensure that across the board — from the ingredients in our meals, to the nutritional information in our content series — we are providing parents access to products, information, and experts that they can trust.
How has the process been of growing a baby brand and being a mom?
Yumi’s inspiration came from my own personal challenge as a working mom who was unable to find a grocery store option that I felt comfortable feeding my first born. While pregnant, I had learned about the importance of nutrition within a child’s first 1,000 days but was concerned to find that even the organic baby foods had 50% of their calories derived from fructose. I realized there were no good options that met all the needs of a modern parent — convenience, nutrient density, freshness, and sustainability and was fed up with the lack of options not just for my own kids but for all kids. So we set out to create a brand with a whole new approach to nutrition, and that is actively disrupting the food industrial complex.
My biggest inspiration in growing this business is my kids, they give me a perspective while building a women-led company while also being a mom. Growing up, I always looked up to my mom and admired how hard she worked to build her career. I think it’s important for not just my children, but all children to see other women in places of power and advocating for positive changes in the world. It inspires them to realize that with passion and persistence, these opportunities are obtainable for them as well.
Obviously there was such a need for something like Yumi — and since your inception you’ve grown rapidly. What has that been like and what are your plans for the future?
Yumi started as a weekly meal delivery service for fresh, organic baby food to support babies’ and toddlers’ growing brains and bodies. As we have grown, we have not only expanded our product offerings into new categories, but we have also developed a resource center for customers with a team of experts that includes nutritionists, pediatricians, metabolic health experts, and James Beard Award-winning chefs. We know that for busy parents, life is messy, and we are constantly adapting and growing to meet the needs of our customers, so that we can help make mealtime just a little bit easier. We recently launched our newest chef partnership with Nancy Silverton, as well as a first of its kind, whole-foods multivitamin for the whole family that became an instant bestseller. There are so many more new developments coming up this year that we’re excited to announce…stay tuned!
Angela Sutherland and Evelyn Rusli built Yumi to support parents with nutritionhttps://helloyumi.com/shop/-first meals and snacks for babies and toddlers with enriching content tailored to every developmental milestone. Their goal is an easy, worry-free option that you can feel good about and to share knowledge that inspires a lifetime of healthy eating. They believe it is Yumi’s responsibility — and the responsibility of all food companies — to lead with science, to nourish with real foods, and to fight for a better tomorrow.