Small Business Spotlight: These sisters sought solutions to the age-old question: How do you get kids to eat their vegetables? Their solution: EasyPeasie Veggie Blends.
Company name: EasyPeasie
Headquarters: Hallandale Beach
Concept: EasyPeasie Veggie Blends is all-natural, mild-flavored, dried and ground vegetables that help picky eaters learn to love veggies.
Story: Like a lot of people, Dr. Jamelah Tucker, a pediatrician, and Dorielle Price, a mother of two and an engineer, have earnestly sought solutions to the age-old question: How do you get kids to eat their vegetables?
They are sisters who figured out how to warm kids up to vegetables by “veggie-hacking” every meal. Out of this necessity, EasyPeasie was born.
“In our family, we decided to give the kids exposures to veggie flavors as early and as often as possible, by drying and grinding lots of different vegetables and adding them to everything the kids were already eating,” Tucker said. “In doing this, we found an easy way to warm the palate and nose to lots of different vegetables. We call this vegetable palate priming.”
The veggie blends come in two blends: regular — carrots, peas and butternut squash, and green — carrots, peas, sweet potatoes, kale, spinach. EasyPeasie is adding a seasonal red blend featuring beets and other vegetables. The blends can be cooked into foods, shaken on top or used in shakes and smoothies.
The sisters — Tucker lives in South Florida; Price lives in the Orlando area — said their ultimate goal is to get kids to eat an adequate number and variety of whole vegetables, and EasyPeasie is a bridge to that goal. They have been hitting the farmer’s markets, which also provide a way to interact with customers, as well as selling the product online. They hope to continue ramping up sales and eventually get into more retail stores.
“It is easy to add to foods that the kids eat regularly and it doesn't change the taste of the food significantly. My 2- and 5-year-old never know when I add it,” said LeKecia Glover, a customer.
EasyPeasie currently can be found at the City of Parkland Farmer’s Market in South Florida, the Winter Garden Farmer’s Market in Central Florida, at the concierge pediatric practice Boca VIPediatrics in Boca Raton and at The Farmacy gourmet grocer in Central Florida. EasyPeasie Veggie Blends are also sold online at easypeasie.com and on Amazon.com.
Ashley Rudnick, president of VIPediatrics, said she discovered EasyPeasie at a farmer’s market and her 3-year-old daughter was the taste tester: “When she ate almost an entire serving of veggies hidden in some apple sauce, we were in awe. Then we learned that EasyPeasie was the handiwork of a fellow pediatrician, so it was a no-brainer to adopt this product for our office. There’s not a parent in the world who doesn’t want their child to eat more vegetables.”
Launched: January 2016
Management team: Dr. Jamelah Tucker and Dorielle Price
Financing: EasyPeasie has been self-funded by investment from the owners, reinvestment of sales into the business, friends and family and crowdfunding.
Recent milestones: Chosen as one of 10 national finalists in the Small Business Association’s 2017 InnovateHER pitch competition. Began sales in Central Florida, through the gourmet grocery store The Farmacy, as well as being featured in the Launchpad program of Amazon.com. The small business is on track to increase sales by 250 percent over last year.
Biggest startup challenge: Getting exposure and reaching new customers.
Next step: “Our next step is updating our product packaging,” Tucker said. “We are seeking a marketing agency to focus-group test EasyPeasie to gather a larger amount of feedback on the product and packaging.”
Follow @ndahlberg on Twitter.