Like many game-changing ideas, the concept behind Camila Alves’ organic baby food company, Yummy Spoonfuls, was born out of frustration. Alves — who shares three kids with her husband, Matthew McConaughey — recalled living in a trailer on a film set in 2004 with dirty dishes piled to the roof, struggling to find clean food options for her children, one of whom was an infant.
“I’m sitting there going, ‘What’s going on? Why is it so hard to open the freezer and go in the store and pick up the most pure baby and kids food?’” Alves said at SheKnows Media’s BlogHer18 Health conference in New York on Wednesday, Jan. 31, where she emceed The Pitch, which celebrates and elevates female entrepreneurs. “If I’m struggling this much with creating something in my own home, I’m sure there are a lot of moms out there who have the same struggle of giving their kids the most pure, most nutritious form of baby and kids food.”
The revelation led Alves to create one of the world’s first-ever organic baby food companies along with business partner Agatha Achindu. But the process wasn’t without its hitches. When the duo approached existing baby food companies for help, they were met with pushback. “We talked to over 100 places that made kids food, and their response to us, which was crazy at the time and is still crazy to me today, was always, ‘Why do you want to do that? Why would you want to do something that’s clean? What’s there now?’” she said.
The response only fueled Alves’ motivation to push for cleaner, healthier food options for children. “I was like, ‘You’re telling me I need to put corn syrup in baby food to go through a pipe and that’s OK to you?’” Alves said. “You can’t modify your pipes to make it work so we don’t have to put poison in our kids’ food?’ It didn’t connect.”
Two years later, Alves helped to change the kids food industry for the better by launching Yummy Spoonfuls. But the battle isn’t over yet. To ensure organic food companies continue to thrive, Alves encourages customers to buy organic and show their support for those companies. Though she admitted that eating organic can be pricey, she explained that the more pure food that’s purchased, the more space stores can make to support those companies and the cheaper they’ll eventually become.
“You dictate what goes on the shelves or not,” she said. “If you keep buying the bad stuff, then the big stores are going to go ‘Well, this is selling the most. I’m going to give them double the space.’ And if they get double the space, they keep putting crap into the food that we’re getting because they’re making it really cheap and doing it how everyone wanted because we’re buying it.”
She added, “The reality is, the better numbers that the companies who are doing it right have, then the cheaper they can make the products. If they sell more, they can buy more raw materials, their prices are going to be lower.”
But that doesn’t mean Alves expects customers to eat 100 percent pure all the time. Instead, she wants people to look at food and the way they’re buying and consuming it more honestly, which will hopefully force companies to be equally honest about the products they make and sell.
“All I’m asking is for us to be honest with ourselves and companies to be honest as well because I’m kind of tired of the bullshit,” she said. Hear! Hear!