Subscription delivery services are the latest must-have, and baby food is no exception. Raised Real, founded by Michelle Davenport, a dietitian with a PhD in Nutrition, was born on the principle that “real is perfect.” Raised Real offers homemade organic baby food delivered fresh, prepped, and ready to steam and serve. It’s healthy and easy – and for busy parents, what could be better than that?
Tell us about your background; what was it that inspired you to create Raised Real? I’m a dietitian with a PhD in Nutrition, and spent years looking at the relationship between food and the brain in kids and adults at NYU. Why do I care so much about this? Because for the first time in centuries, kids are living shorter lifespans than their parents! Research shows that processed food, from an early age, fuels the problem. When I had my daughter, Sophie, I couldn’t stand the fact that every single baby food on the market was processed and attempted to make all her baby food totally from scratch — this was a painful time sink and it was really hard to do it consistently. So I came up with a fail-proof way to feed my daughter fresh, homemade, food. Raised Real was born.
How did it go in the beginning – do you have little ones you prepared meals for? Did you offer samples to friends and family? What was it that convinced you that this needed to happen on a larger scale? A lot of our recipes are derived from the ones I created for Sophie when she was a baby and today she’s still the first person to taste all my recipes. In the very beginning I tested out the concept in my kitchen. I literally walked to the farmers market with Sophie strapped to me, prepped the ingredients, vacuum sealed them and then hand delivered our meals to a small group of parents I gathered from parenting groups. These busy parents loved the concept and were upset when I told them that this was just a test. That’s when I knew we were on to something.
How does Raised Real work, and why is it perfect for all kinds of families? We ship everything you need to make fresh, organic, food for your tiny human right to your doorstep. Our meals come in pre-portioned packets and are ready to steam and serve. If you are at the puree stage, you can blend them. As part of your membership, you get a meal maker that steams and blends for you. No prep, no mess, no more grocery shopping! This is as easy as it gets without sacrificing an ounce of quality.
We like to say Raised Real grows with your baby because you can either serve the food as purees or finger foods. I’m proud to say that for the first time ever, there’s a baby food product on the market with zero mystery, and it gives parents transparency with real ingredients they can actually touch and feel.
What are your preferences when it comes to nutrition standards for Raised Real? Our motto is “real is perfect.” We don’t see a need to hide our ingredients or processes. Our food is very simple, and if you ever want to know what’s inside, just look in the bag. You’ll see all the ingredients.
I have so many standards for our food that I won’t be able to list them all here, but here’s my most important one: each of our recipes is about 100 calories, ~30% healthy fat, 3g of protein, and less than 6g of sugar.
What do you hope for the future of Raised Real? How do you see the delivery services changing the retail landscape as not just a trend, but the future of commerce? Our mission from the beginning was to help parents raise the next generation on real food, and I won’t stop until processed kids foods are a thing of the past. In early 2018, we’re launching nationally, which will be our biggest milestone to date. I can’t wait to make our meals available to families in all corners of the country.
With delivery, we’re solving one of parents’ biggest pain points — grocery shopping. By selling direct to consumer we’ve also been able to build amazing relationships with our members and farms. Together these two things are very powerful. There’s no telling where the retail landscape will be in the future, but direct to consumer businesses will definitely play a large part in shaping it.
When you’re not working, you’re… Spending time with my family. Josh (my husband) and I love the simple things. Our favorite things to do with Sophie are taking walks together, reading her a new book, and making breakfast together.
Your favorite way to unwind at the end of the day? Taking a long walk. Sometimes I know where I’m going and sometimes I don’t (these are the best kinds of walks).
Favorite local place to visit with kids? We have our Sunday ritual where all of us walk to the farmers market to get our fruits and vegetables for the week. Sophie loves helping me pick things out, and I love being able to teach her about all the different varieties.