When Anique Thomas’ son graduated from baby food to real foods, little Ali wasn’t eating as many vegetables as she would have liked. (And what parent hasn’t said that?) So Thomas became a master of disguise, serving her little one homemade real fruit and veggie ice pops. Her son couldn’t even taste the veggies packed in the kid-friendly treat.
Thomas had long been making her own food for her son. There had been health issues in her family growing up, and she was determined to chart a different course for her family.
“One of the things that really was important to me when we had our son…was making sure we fed him good, nutritious food,” she says.
She didn’t feel that traditional baby food with a shelf life of one to two years was providing the adequate nutrition, so she started making her own, experimenting with different flavors and herbs. Then came the ice pops. Dad and fiancé Ali Russell got the creative juices flowing, kicking the tastes of the popsicles up a notch with ingredients like red cabbage, kale, jicama and mango.
Serving the treat to family and friends the couple soon realized they had a product not just for kiddos, but adults as well.
“These popsicles are for everyone,” Thomas says.
And now, everyone can enjoy them. Thomas and Russell went from making the pops for their son to making the pops for everyone with the official launch of Too Good Eats in June of 2016.
That they would start their own business seemed inevitable. Both grew up in entrepreneurial households, with Thomas’ mom running a boutique and Russell’s dad, a lawn care business.
“I’ve always had the passion to start my own business and I just didn’t know what,” Thomas says.
If it hadn’t been for their son, Thomas says she would have never imagined going into the food business. When she started making her own baby food, a passion for introducing families to good, natural food that was both healthy and delicious grew.
All year round, Too Good Eats offers five flavors of 100 percent fruit and vegetable ice pop with no added water or sugar. Top sellers like the Too Good Green marry kale, mango, banana, lemon and apple. A Blurple Wonder incorporates red cabbage juice, blueberries, blackberries, kale, pears and grapes. The lineup also includes a Red Pop with strawberries and cherries, Pineapple Supreme and Creamy Coconut.
After their initial launch with just ice pops, Thomas was eager to go back to her first love of making baby food. With just shy of a year of business under their belt, Too Good Eats launched its baby food line at the end of April.
Two stages of baby food serve the nutritional needs of kiddos as young as four months. Pears, carrots, sweet potatoes and apples fill the pouches of Too Good Eats’ stage one baby food. More ingredients join the party at stage two, offering adventurous combos like blueberry, banana, kale and mint or sweet potatoes, peas and rosemary.
The flavors of each reveal exactly what is inside – with nothing more and nothing less. Too Good Eats makes each offering by lightly cooking the fruit or vegetable, then immediately freezing it, naturally preserving what’s inside. No salt, sugar or preservatives added.
Parents can sign up for subscription boxes to have the healthy eats delivered right to their door. Too Good Eats also gets in front of their customers by frequenting farmers markets. Parents and kids can find the pops and pouches at the Franklin Park, Clintonville, Bexley and Westgate Farmers Markets, as well as at pop-ups at North Market throughout the summer.
Thomas says it has been love at first taste – and that includes the baby food.
“We love to see when parents actually taste the food,” she says.
They realize it’s something that’s not only nutritious for their child, but actually tastes good.
Thomas and Russell will continue to build their business as a part of the SEA Change program, an accelerator for social enterprises.
“We want to use our business to give back to our community,” Thomas says.
Too Good Eats aims to give babies a healthy start to life by donating a Too Good Eats Baby Food Box to Moms2B for every subscription box they sell. Thomas wants to build awareness around the food access issues that exist in low income communities.
“Just because certain families in low income neighborhoods may receive SNAP or food stamps doesn’t mean they have access to fresh or nutritional foods,” Thomas says.
Thomas will use their product to give whole, nutritional foods to these families.
As Too Good Eats approaches a year in business, Thomas continues to build awareness around the brand and the pops and pouches availability outside of just farmers markets. She’s trying to grow the online and wholesale business, and land spots of the shelves of local grocers. And perhaps one day, a brick-and-mortar might even be in the works.
For more information, visit toogoodeats.com.
All photos provided by Too Good Eats.