ECDI has long been a supporter of local food-based businesses through its training and small business funding programs, in addition to its Food Fort kitchen incubator, and has worked to help launch a range of food-based businesses, including restaurants, catering businesses, and food trucks.
Among the more recent trends in food-based entrepreneurship is a rise in the number of business dedicated to offering healthy eating options, such as Audrey Todd’s Food for Good Thought, a gluten-free bakery that employs individuals with autism, and Victoria Hink’s Angry Baker cafe, offering plant-based vegan and vegetarian options. This month, ECDI is highlighting a business that is bringing healthy eating (and snacking!) to your dessert plate.
2013 and 2014 were whirlwind years for Anique Thomas and Ali Simmons, owners of Too Good Eats, a local Popsicle business hoping to make a healthy impact on the snack industry. As they were preparing to graduate from Central State University and start their careers, Thomas and Simmons were also confronted with the challenges of being new parents.
Initially, Too Good Eats started as an effort to give their son, Little Ali, only healthy, real fruits and vegetables, without any added colors, flavors or sugars. As their son grew older, he began to refuse some of the vegetables that Thomas and Simmons included in their meals. Coming from a family that has dealt with health issues, Thomas was adamant that she find a way to include more healthy options in her son’s diet.
This effort led to the creation of fruit and vegetable popsicles that were both delicious and packed full of the nutrients essential to a healthy diet. They refer to this process as “sinking” the vegetables into the product. Through a constant process of refining the recipes, the pair realized that they were on to something, and that their dessert snacks were not only good for their own immediate family, but were being enjoyed by their friends and relatives as well.
“We thought to ourselves, what if we started thinking more strategically about the fruits and vegetables that go into each pop, and create something that isn’t just for kids, but good for people of all ages?” recalls Simmons.
In 2016, they secured space in a commercial kitchen to start producing their popsicles, and Too Good Eats, the business, was born.
In the two years since starting Too Good Eats, Simmons has taken the lead on recipe development and is constantly creating new flavors derived from various raw fruit and vegetable combinations. To hold onto all nutritional value, Too Good Eats does not cook any of the ingredients; instead, the popsicles are made through an intensive process of blending and juicing ingredients. They are all vegan friendly and never contain any added sugars or sweeteners.
“I am constantly challenged by the balance between flavor versus health,” said Simmons.
Too Good Eats also refrains from adding any concentrated juices or water.
“Everything that goes into the popsicles comes straight from the fruits and vegetables themselves,” he added. “Most places add in water to stretch the amount of popsicles they can make. We want ours to be full of the healthy things that come from the ingredients.”
The two most popular flavors are the “Red Pop” and “Too Good Green.” The green pop is made from a blend of mango, apple, banana, lemon and kale. Both flavors are available in three local groceries: It’s All Natural vegan food store in Gahanna, Bexley Natural Market, and Southside Roots Café and Market. At only 20 to 25 calories per treat, Too Good Eats’ popsicles really are a healthy alternative dessert snack.
Though Thomas and Simmons dream did not start out with the intent of starting their own business, they both come from entrepreneurial families. After their business began taking shape, the couple became active in the local entrepreneurial ecosystem. They have partnered with SocialVentures, a platform to advance local small businesses that also solve social issues within the community.
In late 2017, Too Good Eats received a small business loan from ECDI to expand their production capabilities, allowing them to take on new retail opportunities. Now their popsicles can be found at your local gym, healthcare facility, and some neighborhood schools! And, you can find them at the Worthington Farmers Market every Saturday, along with the farmers markets in Clintonville, Franklin Park and Newark. Too Good Eats also offers catering options, and the popsicles are the perfect healthy option for early-summer graduation parties. (If you hurry, you can try two of their newest flavors – the Coffee Pop and Lavender Pop!)
For more information, visit www.toogoodeats.com.
Since 2004, ECDI has assisted Ohio’s entrepreneurs through their one-stop shop business services model, suited to meet the needs of all entrepreneurs, regardless of business stage. From providing capital to entrepreneurs looking to expand their businesses, to providing focused, business-specific educational opportunities to enhance entrepreneurial skill sets, ECDI works with their clients to meet their specific needs. Whether you merely have a business idea or are opening up your fifth location, ECDI’s “never say no” approach has allowed over 10,000 entrepreneurs to take advantage of the services they provide. Visit www.ecdi.org today to learn more.