Welcome to season 6 of the podcast, which is focused entirely on mompreneurs who are solving for the issues around feeding kids. In this episode, I sat down with Lauren Rockteacher, founder of Smash Cake, to talk about healthy first birthday cake alternatives and added sugars in baby and toddler foods.
When Lauren’s son was about to turn one, she wanted to have a smash cake for his birthday—and all the adorable photos that went along with it. Yet all of the cake mixes she found in the grocery store were filled with added sugars or non-nutritive sweeteners, added salt, artificial flavors and colors, hydrogenated oils, and other unhealthy ingredients. A quick Google search pulled up a ton of healthy smash cake recipes, but as a busy working mom, she didn’t have the time to make the cake from scratch.
Lauren couldn’t believe that with all the new products hitting store shelves every day, there weren’t any healthy first birthday cake alternatives available to parents. As a seasoned food scientist with experience in USDA and FDA labeling, nutrition, quality control, and research and development, she knew the ins and outs of how products are formulated and brought to market, and she quickly realized she could make the smash cake mix herself.
Within just a few weeks, she developed the original Smash Cake, and moved on to new flavors and a healthy frosting mix. Smash Cake’s healthy first birthday cake alternatives use a handful of real, simple ingredients, including fruit, and none of the artificial, unhealthy ingredients.
Lauren and I talked about why she knew she needed to bring Smash Cake to market, and her journey to launch and grow the company with no business background to speak of. She talks about the challenges she encountered and the lessons she learned, what the future holds for Smash Cake, and the new products she plans to develop. Hint: it includes healthy gummy bears. We also talk about how you can limit added sugar in your kid’s diet and why “no added sugar” is actually a misnomer.
2:30 Let’s talk about your story!
5:51 What does a food scientist do and what kinds of projects have you worked on?
7:57 What is something that happens behind the scenes that maybe we don’t realize as consumers?
9:12 Why do you think babies and toddlers are consuming so much added sugar?
14:07 Why did you start Smash Cake?
17:28 What makes Smash Cake different from other cake mixes on the market?
18:51 Smash Cake can be for any occasion, right?
19:42 Let’s talk about your journey to launching the company—what were the steps you took to get it off the ground?
28:30 What were the lessons you learned?
30:21 What advice do you have for other parents who may want to start a food business?
31:01 What is the future for the company?
33:26 How do you think your company can change the conversation around added sugars for babies and toddlers?
33:58 What are your best tips for limiting and avoiding added sugars?
LINKS MENTIONED IN THE SHOW
Julie mentions that the 2020-25 USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend babies under 2 avoid added sugars.
Julie talks about how studies show nearly 85 percent of babies and toddlers are eating foods that have added sugars and artificial sweeteners on any given day.
To get 15% off Smash Cake products, use code FoodIssues15.
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