Q+A w/ YUMI CO-FOUNDERS, Angela Sutherland + Evelyn Rosli
Calling all VIBs (Very Important Babes!) We are so excited to partner with Yumi and offer a delicious and nutritious bite and blend made from whole, organic ingredients. Our Baby Burger Bites and Super Smash Burger Blend are inspired by our famous Guac Burger and feature a blend of protein-rich black beans, creamy sweet potatoes for a boost of potassium and vitamin c, and quinoa for texture and fiber.
Yumi is a weekly delivery service for freshly made organic food for babies, tots, and more. The company understands the importance of fueling your babe with the best nutrients possible. The always-changing pureés and bites are 100% vegan, organic, non-gmo, and lack the high levels of sugar found in most baby food. It’s safe to say Yumi is creating Superfood for Superbabes!
Read on for our Q+A w/ Yumi Co-Founders, Angela Sutherland and Evelyn Rusli to learn more about how Yumi is changing the baby food game!
by CHLOE.: Hi Evelyn and Angela! Thanks for chatting with us. Please introduce yourselves.
Angela Sutherland: I am the CEO and co-founder of Yumi, and mother of two amazing kids. Prior to starting Yumi, I worked in finance.
Evelyn Rusli: I am the President and co-founder of Yumi, and Angela’s work wife. Before starting this company, I was a tech reporter covering innovation and entrepreneurship for the WSJ and NYT.
bC: Tell us how it all began! Why did you decide to start Yumi, an organic baby food delivery service?
AS: I wasn’t planning to start a baby food company, but when I was pregnant with my first child, I was astounded by all the research on the first thousand days of life. The scientific community has circled on this period as the most important in a human’s life for nutrition and development – but it’s not exactly common knowledge. Once my daughter was ready for solids, feeding her healthy foods became a huge source of stress. The products available in the supermarket, while convenient, were high in sugar, low in nutrition, and had been sitting on a shelf for months. The big food industry was failing parents. I believe that parents, myself included, deserve convenient options that they could actually feel good about.
I was ranting to my good friend Evelyn, and told her we should start a company: one that gave families more nutritious options and one that went beyond food with content and services.
bC: What sets Yumi apart from typical store bought baby food?
ER: A lot. We have a clear food philosophy that’s grounded in science. Our food is fresh, unlike most store-bought baby food which is heavily processed to live one or two years on the shelf.
We map our food against the first 1,000 days, accounting for the tremendous nutritional needs of a child during this period. We measure the nutrient density of every meal and keep a close eye on total fructose, or fruit sugar levels. There is so much fructose in the store-bought, organic brands, which leaves little room for everything else your kid needs.
Every week, we have a new menu of fresh meals. We do this because there is significant evidence that exposure to a wide variety of ingredients during the first years of life helps kids embrace a wide range of flavors later on.
But beyond food, we work with a team of nutritionists to offer week-by-week content that’s fully custom to their child’s age and stage of development. We help parents connect the dots, so they can better understand how food fuels their child’s growth. We are transparent about our sourcing and rely on primary sources, such as robust clinical studies. As a former journalist, it’s always been important to us to create content that would pass the same editorial bar of top tier news publications.
bC: Why is nutrition so important for babies? How does Yumi ensure all these nutritional needs are being met?
AS: It’s interesting – I grew up in the midwest and was always told that kids are resilient, and you can feed them anything and they’ll turn out just fine. Well, the science shows that the exact opposite is true – what babies and toddlers eat significantly impacts their development and long term health! During the first years, everything they eat shapes their brain, physical development, metabolic rate and even their proclivity later in life for processed foods and sweets. It’s our mission at Yumi to raise awareness around the first 1,000 days and empower our community with knowledge so that they can make more informed decisions when it comes to feeding their families. This is not about never having an Oreo – it’s about knowing what Oreos mean in the context of everything you feed your child.
bC: Every Yumi meal is vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, big-8 allergen free, GMO-free, and organic. How do you source the high quality ingredients for Yumi?
ER: We’re extremely meticulous in the sourcing and treatment of all of our ingredients. These are precious babies we’re feeding, so we take this job very seriously.
We partner with trusted farms who are USDA Certified Organic, Non-GMO Project Verified and follow rigorous food safety testing (including regular checks for heavy metals). We also carefully choose our ingredients, avoiding some, such as brown rice, which are often high in arsenic. Last year, Consumer Reports released a study that revealed that the vast majority of store-bought baby food products had a “worrisome” level of at least one heavy metal. It surprised a lot of people, but it’s really not that surprising when you look at the ingredient list and sourcing processes of these products. But the tide is changing and big food has to catch up. Today’s consumers are far more savvy and expect more from the brands they buy.
bC: Yumi’s meals aren’t the typical baby food flavors, with options like Lebanese Lentil Soup and Mango Buckwheat Pudding. How do you create each unique offering?
AS: We work with an amazing team of pediatricians, doulas, nutritionists and chefs to create meals with all the nutrients that babies need to grow, but that are also full of flavor. Since there has been zero innovation in this industry for the past 100 years and the bar has been set so low, many people just started to assume that baby food had to look and taste awful. To us, this is totally crazy! We believe that babies deserve food that is colorful, fresh, AND delicious.
bC: We are thrilled to partner with Yumi and offer the Baby Burger and the Super Smash Burger! Why are you excited to partner with by CHLOE.?
ER: Why? The word “excited” doesn’t even cover it. by CHLOE. is a pioneer in the plant-based movement, and we’ve been huge personal fans of the brand for years. The creamy Mac N’ Cheese with Shiitake Bacon? That stuff is life changing. With our chef series, we look for iconic food brands and personalities that push the boundaries and inspire people to celebrate food and its potential. We love by CHLOE.’s fun, irreverent approach to delicious food, that just happens to be plant-based. There’s a tendency to bucket food into narrow categories – such as healthy or vegan and associate certain attributes to those categories. But a category of food never has to be just one thing, just like we passionately believe that baby food doesn’t have to be bland or boring.
bC: What do you like to do when you aren’t growing Yumi? Any hobbies?
AS: Being with my kids, reading, working out.
ER: Helping friends with their startups, reading, sleeping.
RAPID FIRE: Angela Sutherland
Best binge-worthy TV series? Fleabag.
Whatcha readin’? The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen.
Three objects you can’t live without? My shun fuji Santoku knife, French flax linen sheets, and—regrettably—my phone (I’m on it constantly for work and when I’m not I’m playing crosswords).
Favorite place you ever visited? Vietnam.
Last song you listened to? “Monkey Dance“ by Tones and I (my daughter loves it).
Secret super power? I don’t need sleep (I want it, but I am oddly highly functioning without it).
Biggest pet peeve? Complainers.
RAPID FIRE: Evelyn Rusli
Best binge-worthy TV series? Euphoria. The cinematography is hypnotic — and I’m obsessed with the soundtrack.
Whatcha readin’? I’m so behind on my reading list, but currently reading The Hidden Life of Trees, my husband recently gave me the book.
Favorite place you ever visited? Raja Ampat, Indonesia. It’s magical and it’s why I named my first dog “Raja.”
Last song you listened to? Kelsey Lu, “I’m Not In Love.“
Secret super power? I live to connect. I love connecting people for business, for friendship, for love, and seeing the fruits of that connection.
Biggest pet peeve? When people use apostrophes incorrectly. It’s like nails on a chalkboard for my brain.