Erica Bethe Levin, Founder of GloBowl
Today we caught up with fellow mom founder and serial entrepreneur Erica Bethe Levin, Founder of Globowl, a more inclusive, welcoming world through delicious, nutritious and exciting meals…one baby foodie at a time.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and Globowl.
I am a two-time founder (this is my third startup!), but I’ve never done anything in consumer packaged goods before. My background is in food and hospitality, I’ve been a food writer for 15 years, and food is how we show love in my family. During quarantine while I was feeding my second, I remember thinking I did not want a picky eater, like my first. I vowed to give my daughter whatever I was having, to give her a more adventurous sense of eating and so that I wouldn’t have to make two or three meals.
Can you share the story of Globowl? The process of creating your product?
As I was researching how to make sure my daughter did not become a picky eater, I learned that kids have a “flavor window” between 4 and 18 months of age, during which time they will get used to various flavors, spices and textures that carries through to their eating habits for the rest of their life. Her very first food ended up being coconut curry with shrimp, and we gave her saffron pasta and pesto later that week. She has since become a great eater, which really solidified my sense that fostering an adventurous sense of eating early on is the way to go.
At the same time, I did research about global foods and learned that kids in other parts of the world don’t suffer from food allergies the way that we do in America, because parents are giving their kids whatever they are eating, including allergens. This further inspired me to develop kids’ recipes that are similar to what adults would eat across the world.
How do you come up with your recipes?
I love to cook, so I’m always trying new recipes from global cuisines, such as tikka masala and pad Thai and giving those recipes to my kids (or at least my second!). I ended up pairing up with a chef consultant and recipe developer named Dan, who was classically trained and worked at Charlie Trotter’s before going in-house to develop recipes and CPG products with well known household brands and restaurants.
I knew that busy parents needed the convenience of shelf stable food (like the pouches that most babies eat these days), but without preservatives and full of texture, flavor and spice, and not just pureed fruits or veggies - a whole, nutritional meal, if you will! We started doing taste testing and selling our recipes at street festivals in Chicago in the summer of 2021 and sold out! That’s when we knew we had something good. We found a manufacturer and got to work, and we are planning our first production run in the coming weeks!
What’s your current favorite recipe?
Ah, that’s like asking me to pick a favorite child! Our pad Thai is great, my husband eats it for dinner all the time. I do love the bean bowl. It’s like a chili for kids, with a little cayenne for heat at a level a child’s palette can accept and embrace. I also love the Medi-Bowl, which has tahini, roasted red pepper and feta. You can eat it with a spoon or use it as a dip.
What are some other feeding or nutritional challenges you or other parents have?
My kids won’t touch vegetables. It’s so hard! They like fruit, but veggies are tougher. I try to avoid pouches because kids should be eating their food versus drinking it. This stifles their muscle development by preventing chewing, and kids tend to overeat when they are drinking their food. Also traditional baby food tends to be very bland and sterile, free from any allergens, which can cause problems down the line. With Globowl, we are looking to help with these challenges by introducing healthy balances of vegetables, grains and proteins with great flavors in one four-ounce jar.
What are your thoughts on supplements or functional foods and beverages like Vitaminis?
Sometimes no matter how hard we try, our kids aren’t getting the nutrients they need for their development. In this case we need to supplement to make sure they are getting well rounded diets. That’s why I love the idea of Vitaminis, particularly as we know gummy vitamins aren’t good for kids’ teeth.
Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
We chose to serve our food in glass jars that can be reused for various things, such as storage of small items like nuts and bolts or even foods and beverages. A friend of mine even used them for a beer tasting! So we have an environmental responsibility aspect as well.
You can find us on www.globowl.com, and you can find us on Amazon in May as well!
Thanks so much for sharing your story with us! We can’t wait to see GloBowl out in the world!