Entrepreneurs of Waco: Bambino’s Baby Food coming to town?
By Michelle Nosrat
When most of us think of baby food, we think of unappetizing cans full of pureed carrots and peas. Zoi Maroudas, a Baylor alumnus and mother, has set out to change this stigma and bring baby food into the 21st century with her company, Bambinos Baby Food. Maroudas, who moved from Greece to Alaska when she was four years old, grew up working in her parents’ Mediterranean restaurant, originally came to Baylor for the medical program and the close-knit community.
While living in Waco, Maroudas worked at Hillcrest Hospital in geriatrics, where she helped patients build up their strength. Maroudas realized that her patients did not enjoy eating the hospital food, and, having grown up in a family where good food was a central part of life, she decided to approach the hospital cook about making the food not only healthy, but delicious.
Soon after, Maroudas made the transition into researching the diets of children. She saw the rising numbers of severe food allergies and obesity concerns across our nation and knew that she could use her medical background and experience in a restaurant to make healthy, yummy food that is also practical and sustainable. Maroudas conducted intensive analyses of her recipes that specifically focused on allergies, age appropriate nutrition and savory flavors. Then she took her products to be analyzed and approved by allergists and pediatricians. Bambinos was founded in Alaska and ships baby food across the nation to parents directly.
As Bambinos continues to expand they are scouting across Texas looking for additional manufacturing locations and Waco is among of them. Maroudas says she is looking forward to creating new job opportunities, contracting local organic farmers for fruits and veggies and giving students opportunity to learn about nutrition and the manufacturing industry. The company is eco-friendly and continually aims to be entirely transparent, so parents know everything about the food they are feeding their children.
The new location will continue to encourage parents to stop by and see the manufacturing facility, ask questions about products and watch as the food is made. All Bambinos Baby Food is organic, all natural, and kosher. Bambinos Baby Food is a completely unique product. Each spoon full offers a complete balance of protein, grain and veggies. All of the meals are frozen, so the natural nutrients are preserved, whereas the canning processes used by most baby food companies loses many of those nutrients.
Maroudas wanted her food to be savory, as well as be healthy. She incorporates flavors commonly found in the Mediterranean diet so that babies develop a sense for those flavors earlier in life, which results in children learning to follow a healthy diet in the long run. Maroudas also incorporates seafood, so that babies can get natural omega 3 nutrients into their diets which is very important nutrient for brain development and social neural interactions.
One of the most distinct elements of Maroudas and Bambinos is that she worked closely with allergists and pediatricians to make the food not only delicious, but healthy. Maroudas, in her research, discovered that nut allergies have become much more prevalent in children in recent years. In response to this, she used a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine to formulate her Peanut Mani Cookies. The recipe is a trade secret. It contains the exact amount of peanut protein to help a child develop an immunity to nuts, reducing the outbreak by 72%, when eaten once a day starting when the baby is four months old. The cookies are sweetened using oranges and carrots, so there is no added sugar at all, plus they are a great a source for beta carotene essential for eye development. And the best part is that they are not just for babies, but parents enjoy them as well.
Bambino’s Baby Food is available online, where you can purchase by the case, or through a subscription service. One case holds about a month’s supply of a particular dish, but can be kept frozen for as long as needed. Gift cards are also available for purchase, which is a perfect New Year’s resolution present for any new or expecting parent! More information about the products, including ingredients and nutrition facts are available at their website, bambinosbabyfood.com. Check them out on Facebook and Twitter as well!
Michelle Nosrat is an AmeriCorps VISTA for ex-offender re-entry with the McLennan County Reintegration Roundtable. She has a Bachelor’s of Arts in English from the Honors College at Baylor University, and is planning to pursue a Master’s degree in Social Work. She currently lives in Waco with her puppy, Penny Lane.
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