Did you know that only five percent of toddlers get the recommended amount of green vegetables in their daily diet? As their little bodies grow, that's just not enough.
Shazi Visram's company, Happy Family, is helping to combat that. The company began as a quest to provide a healthy, nutrient-dense alternative to jarred baby food and has grown and expanded in the years since its inception to provide a complete line of organic nutrition.
One of the most recent developments has been the veggie pouches. There are lots of fruit pouches out there, but the Happy Family brand's version is comprised primarily of veggies. She has also created a nutrition shake that is perfect for kids who might have nutrient deficiencies or just need some extra calories.
Visram's goal is also to make nutrition fun and tasty, which is especially helpful if you have a picky eater in your household.
Listen in as Visram shares more about what inspired her to start Happy Family, some of the most popular products, and why it's so important for your kids to get those essential nutrients on a daily basis.
RadioMD Presents: Naturally Savvy | Original Air Date: April 29, 2015
Hosts: Andrea Donsky, RHN & Lisa Davis
Guest: Shazi Visram
Your organic search is over. Here's Naturally Savvy with health experts, Andrea Donsky and Lisa Davis.
ANDREA: Hello everyone. I am hosting solo today. Lisa is away but she will be back next time.
Our next guest is a powerhouse woman who made it her mission to create a better world for our children by feeding them healthy organic food. Shazi Visram is considered by President Obama as not only an outstanding businesswoman, but also a leader that all of us can emulate.
Wow. Welcome to the show, Shazi.
SHAZI: Hi. Thank you so much for having me. I'm happy to be here.
ANDREA: I'm really excited to speak with you because I want to hear a little bit about your story and what inspired you to launch “Happy Family” brands.
SHAZI: Sure. So it's been a long, crazy ride but about ten years ago I was struggling to think about what am I going to do to fulfill my personal mission and also try to kind of figure out a way to create abundance in my life and I recognized that the best way for me to do that and change the world was through organic baby food. And I was inspired because I saw that we have so many challenges for our children and our country and while there are a number of topics out there, like peace in the Middle East or global warming, that might be hard for a few people to get together in a room and figure out, for me there is a clear answer to solving a lot of the challenges that our children are facing with their health. That's to start them in a toxin-free environment with all the right food. And so, I made it my mission to kind of change the way children are fed from that day and started dreaming up ways to improve baby food and make it delicious and amazing and real and super nutrient dense and so “Happy Family” was born.
ANDREA: That's amazing. That's also what I love about “Happy Family”. It's also very convenient and as a mom--I have three kids myself--I know how hard it is sometimes to be able to feed our kid healthy foods. Our kids are on the run or we are doing things, so I love the fact that the food that you do make available is so portable and convenient. Was that part of your initial strategy when you launched the company?
SHAZI: Well, initially, what I wanted to do was create a premium alternative to the jar of baby food. So, nowadays the baby food landscape has changed dramatically, but when it all started, it was all jars and we launched actually with a frozen line of baby food because for us it's the very next best thing to homemade and we're all about supporting a lifestyle of homemade food and getting moms in the kitchen and dads and like making, preparing food, being a part of life. So, we launched this line of frozen and it was like little ice cube trays of different flavors so it would be black bean, bananas and quinoa or, you know, adai or something and it just did not have the market traction because we were launching a baby food in the freezer and people did not know it was there. And so initially the strategy was to create a premium alternative to the jar and we couldn't make it work with frozen even though it was such a beautiful product. So, we started innovating in the dry set and they approached innovation with how do we create an enlightened alternative to these items that are selling to parents in mass that are not organic and they don't have supreme nutritional benefits and they are not using nature's best nutrition to its highest advantage for our children. So, we started innovating there and it was really making progress and then around 2009 we kind of stumbled on that next best alternative to the jar and it's the pouch. And that was part of the Holy Grail because for today's consumers, it's like we, as moms, we need not only something that is convenient but something that we feel really, really good about. So, now you can buy a pouch of , you know, one of our flavors and it's coconut milk, and butternut squash, and raspberries and sweet potatoes with salvachia and feel really good that it's also, you know, something aspirational that you might make at also really convenient in a pouch and you can feel really good about it. So, it's definitely part of the equation.
ANDREA: What I love, too, is that, like you said, it tastes delicious and I know my four-year-old loves it. She went crazy for it and especially your new line, your “Love My Veggies” pouches. Tell me a little bit about that. What inspired you to launch that?
SHAZI: Yes. So, you know, toddlers in America really aren't getting enough vegetables. It's only 5% of toddlers get enough green vegetables in their daily diets and the number one consumed vegetable which we may all know is potatoes and it's in the form of french fries, so we really wanted to make that problem, make it an easier problem to solve for moms. And a big piece of it, as you said, it's convenience. And so the pouches are really great and what you will find is they're an awesome way to create a higher quality product than jars but it's still what you put into it and not all brands are the same. So, at Happy Family, we try to focus on putting the absolute most nutrition in each product that we create and make them sing and the “Love my Veggies” line, what is great is they are primarily vegetables. So, each pouch has a full serving of vegetables whether it's beets, or sweet potatoes, or carrots and they taste utterly delicious. So, when you are shopping for pouches, primarily there are a lot of fruit-based pouches and these are phenomenal because they taste great but it's primarily veggies. So, it's a nice way to get a lot of organic vegetables into your kids and in a fun format, too.
ANDREA: I love that and I think for kids, especially, and like you said, they really don't get enough green vegetables or they don't get enough vegetables and I think making it fun and tasty. You've got a winner there, just for those two alone. I mean, obviously, the kids want to have a fun factor and they want to be able to love what they are eating because they are so picky with their taste buds so....
SHAZI: It's definitely hard to please everyone at the table--mom, dad and the kids, but we work really hard and I think with “Love my Veggies” we definitely have a winner. It's a phenomenal product. I will get your family some so you guys can try them.
ANDREA: You know what's interesting is I'm very much about nutrient dense foods and especially when it comes to our kids because they don't eat a lot and when they do, you want it to really pack some nutrition. And I know in my house we've got my older kids are very picky and it's one of those things, like you said, that at least you know what they are eating--anything from Happy Family--that you're getting something that is nutrient dense and they're feeding their bodies with the vitamins and minerals they need. Tell me a little bit about your nutrition shake because I thought that was really interesting, too.
SHAZI: So, a lot of the items we have, we want to be a complete line of nutrition for parents to turn to and we felt like there was a real gap in the marketplace when, you know, you've got a child that needs the extra nutrition and the extra calories and, you know, there is PediaSure which has been on the shelf for quite a while and we wanted to create a really enlightened version of a PediaSure type of beverage that moms could feel good about in terms of the ingredient deck. And so, the nutrition shake is a phenomenal way....My son has a lot of nutritional deficiencies. Actually, he has a number of challenges that we're working on and, unfortunately, he cannot drink it now because he is off of dairy, so Lisa and I talked about making a vegan version.
ANDREA: Yes, definitely.
SHAZI: The nutrition shake has the vitamins and minerals that our children need on a daily basis. It's got the right balance of calories and protein and fat and, again, they are phenomenally delicious. It's like the chocolate one tastes like a really yummy chocolate milk so we're really proud of the way that we've been able to formulate and get that one right. It's a great, great item and a lot of moms email us saying thank you because they felt like they didn't have a great alternative and now they do.
ANDREA: Well, I would definitely look forward to a vegan one because I do think that there are so many kids that have allergies to dairy so, I mean, you'll have both options so when you do launch it, let us know and we're going to help you get the word out there because I think it's...
SHAZI: Thank you.
ANDREA: …fantastic. So...
SHAZI: Yes. Our products are...I'm sorry. Go ahead.
ANDREA: I was just going to say we have about thirty seconds left. Unfortunately, this goes by so quickly but we want to have you back on because I think what you are doing is so important. In just like ten seconds left, if you were going to give advice to moms who are trying to make a difference in their kids when it comes to what they are eating, what kind of advice can we leave them with?
SHAZI: My top piece of advice is to make sure they have safe, clean food and that you really focus on not just giving them nutritious food but giving them the nutrients they need based on their age and stage of development.
ANDREA: Definitely words of wisdom. Thank you so much for being on our show today, Shazi. You can learn more about Shazi at happyfamily.com. You can also follow them on Twitter at Happy Family. I am Andrea Donsky along with Lisa Davis who's usually here, but not today.
This is Naturally Savvy radio on RadioMD. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. We have a Happy Family's contest going right now on Facebook if you go to Naturally Savvy. Have a great day everyone. Thanks for listening and stay well.