Alyson Eberle in the Pure Spoon kitchen
After strolling the aisles of her local grocery store in search of healthy baby food for her then 6-month-old daughter, Alyson Eberle was dismayed by the options she found. Not only were there no fresh options available, but many of the products lacked the proper nutritious ingredients needed for a baby’s healthy development. Alyson decided then and there that if the current baby food options weren’t good enough for her to eat, then she wouldn’t feed them to her baby. She rolled up her sleeves and started making her own homemade baby food in her kitchen. Soon she was receiving requests from other parents for her recipes. Thus, Pure Spoon was born. Here’s the rundown on this first-of-its-kind baby food.
TELL US ABOUT PURE SPOON.
Pure Spoon is the first to market option for fresh baby food. We never start with pre-made purees. We order only fresh, certified organic produce and peel, chop, core, etc. each ingredient and make each recipe in teeny-tiny batches. Our food is steamed (never boiled) or blended raw, depending on the ingredients, using as much of the skins and pulp as possible. It is then pasteurized without nutritional-depleting heat (a cold pasteurization process called high-pressure pasteurization or HPP). The result is a purée full of natural vitamins and minerals.
HOW DO YOU CREATE THE DIFFERENT FLAVOR COMBINATIONS?
It’s equal parts taste and nutrition. You may have the best-tasting food, but it may not be packed with the nutrition needed. The recipes were developed with the advice of a registered pediatric dietician from Dell Children’s Hospital in Austin, and the goal was to develop recipes that offered the most critical nutrients to help with their development. I tasted a lot of combinations to come up with the nine flavors we currently offer. The most popular recipe is Blueberry, Banana and Apples; the second most popular one is Spinach, Pear and Banana.
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE FLAVOR?
I have eaten more baby food developing these recipes than most small countries eat in a year! Popular among adults and also my favorite is Blueberry, Banana and Apples. It really is delicious. .. and filling. Because it is not limited to the baby-food aisle, adults found it and began to buy it for themselves. We have a huge following of athletes, health-conscious people and people with dietary restrictions.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO PLACE YOUR PRODUCT IN THE REFRIGERATED SECTION INSTEAD OF IN POUCHES LIKE OTHER ORGANIC BABY-FOOD OPTIONS?
Because this is a fresh product, it must be kept refrigerated. Because of HPP, each container stays fresh for 60 days. It has been a challenge to place the food in the refrigerated section because that is not where a parent typically looks for baby food. But when you are the first to do/offer something new, you sometimes have to go with the flow.
TELL US ABOUT PROJECT PURE SPOON. IT’S SUCH A NOBLE EFFORT. HOW DID THE IDEA COME ABOUT?
I knew I wanted to launch Pure Spoon with a philanthropic piece to the business, but I didn’t know what that would look like. Why work if you don’t give back? My neighbor gave me the book written by the founder of Tom’s shoes entitled Start Something that Matters. I was hooked and completely inspired by his story and his passion to help others while building a business. I loved his way of thinking outside of the box and giving back as much as you get. For every ounce of Pure Spoon sold, we are donating an ounce of organic food to children here in the U.S., because we have a lot of children right here in our own backyards that don’t have access to good food.
WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO SKEPTICS?
My husband and I are parents, and the last thing we want is to have someone judge us on how we raise our daughter. So this is about an option as opposed to right or wrong. That being said, it has been a real eye opener, learning that there is very little oversight on what companies can label “baby food.” A lot of parents assume that someone is watching out for their child’s interests and health. Sadly, that is not the case, based on what I have seen. More and more reporting of what is in our food is coming out, and consumers are frankly angry and want good alternatives.
PLANS FOR EXPANSION?
Right now we are in Whole Foods Market throughout the state, as well as in Louisiana and Oklahoma. We want to expand into other Whole Foods regions, as well as other retail stores. We also have plans to launch online sales. I started with baby food, and we will soon offer more options for children. Pure Spoon will not just be for babies, but for all age groups wanting fresh, organic, great-tasting options.