|Food Business on the Best for the Baby|
By Colleen Moran
Oregon Business Magazine
Gerber baby, eat your strained-carrot heart out. The latest
health food wave has reached the youngest Oregon consumers with the
introduction of Nice Cubes, a new brand of frozen organic baby food, the
first of its kind developed locally.
Nice Cubes is part of the booming nationwide organic baby food market.
According to marketing research firm A.C. Nielsen Co., this segment of the
organic food market grew 18% between 2004 and 2005, bringing in $100
million in 2005.
“Our approach is to create a product that’s as fresh as homemade,” says
company founder and Portland mom Katie McNamara, who began work on her
product a year ago after winning the American Food Fight competition put
on by Oregon State University’s Food Innovation Center. Each four-ounce
Nice Cubes serving, packaged in a square tray, contain grains, fruits and
vegetables grown locally. Trays are stacked three high to form cubes and
are sold at New Seasons and Whole Foods as well as at the Food Front
Besides introducing tots to such flavors as “bandango” and “gentle
lentils,” Nice Cubes purees are jam-packed with vitamins, according to
McNamara. She explains that since the cubes are frozen, they lack the
added preservatives necessary for shelf food.
“We’re supplying moms with the fresh food they want for their babies,”
she says. At $4.95 a box, Nice Cubes is aimed at the moms who can afford
to be discriminating.
But to McNamara, the growing legions of the stroller set in that
demographic are enough to build a business on. Now she just hopes those
babies will give Nice Cubes two spoons up.