Bambino’s Outgrows ‘Crib,’ Opens Manufacturing Facility
Bambino’s Frozen Baby Food is growing – so much so that the Alaska company has just opened a new manufacturing facility and storefront in Anchorage. Among VIPs attending the official ribbon cutting ceremony were Bill and Donna Walker, the state’s governor and first lady.
Launched five years ago, the company was founded by CEO Zoi Maroudas, a Baylor University graduate, former medical researcher and Mediterranean diet expert who while working with hospital chefs was inspired to improve the nutritional quality and palatability of foods served to oncology patients. Bambino’s product line today features organic ingredients and provides widely regarded health benefits that are exclusive to baby food through nutritious fare such as wild Alaska salmon, halibut and olive oil.
The company has expanded seafood, chicken, beef, vegetables and breakfast cereal with fruit offerings by working in partnership with allergists to create the only commercially available cookie proven to desensitize high-risk infants to peanut allergies. Indeed, its Peanut Mani has won rave reviews from parents and allergists.
“Our new facility is open to parents to come see through windows and learn about production and where the ingredients come from,” said Maroudas. “I am a firm believer in complete transparency and traceability to our clients. This makes us the first manufacturing and baby food company in America with an open door concept.”
Over 300 families joined the grand opening celebration on September 1 to check out the premises at 2819 Spenard Road and sample sockeye salmon baby food. Prior to the move, which was in part spurred by interest in the product line from the Albertsons supermarket chain, Bambino’s was using the kitchen of the Maroudas family’s Pizza Olympia restaurant from Midnight to 10 AM to develop and certify nutritionally balanced baby food with the US Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration.
“Even parents and grandparents love the full-flavored meals with organic vegetables farmed just for us in rural Alaska, where the soil is pure and nutrient-rich,” said the chief executive officer. “Our sockeye salmon bisque features sockeye, carrots, onions, potatoes, rice and extra virgin olive oil. This is not your typical baby food, but one that is approved by allergists and pediatricians and loved by all ages.”
The mother of two youngsters is proud to say that she fed them a steady diet of Bambino’s fare while busy building her business. Now the challenge is to reach out and deliver the convenient and nutritious meals to parents near and far.
“I know we can combat and prevent the national epidemic of food allergies and child obesity with real honest foods that lay the foundation for healthy eating habits for a lifetime,” said Maroudas.
The company’s main means of marketing and sales is through its website (www.bambinosbabyfood.com), where online shoppers throughout the USA are offered direct FedEx delivery and options to subscribe to scheduled shipment programs. Within the first six months of launch Bambino’s had already filled and sent baby food orders to every state in the nation.
Among its biggest sellers is the Surprise Variety Pack, which contains six standup, resealable pouches offering a complete balance of protein, grain and vegetables. The assortment includes Sweet Spring Veggies, Hali Halibut, Hearty Munchkin, Chicken with Veggies, Sockeye Salmon Bisque and Vegetable Stew with Filet Mignon. Each pouch holds 15 frozen star-shaped cubes (equivalent to four or five standard jars of baby food) that allow parents to determine each portion size or serve them unthawed as a soother for teething infants.
Bambino’s products are primarily made for children aged four months to three years. As little ones transition from smooth purees, it is suggested that moms, dads and other caregivers pour melted baby food over steamed rice for them to eat.
Solid Secondary Market
The market, however, does not consist entirely of infants and toddlers. Over 40% of the consumers of Bambino’s products are adults from various walks and stages of life, ranging from body builders looking for lean protein/high nutrient meals to late-stage Alzheimer patients who have difficulty swallowing.
The Bambino’s portfolio contains a number of award winning products, among them Hali Halibut which received the 2016 Alaska Symphony of Seafood Grand Prize and first place in the Juneau People’s Choice retail category competition. Delivering a full dose of vitamin A and gentle on the digestive system, the all-natural, additive-free recipe consists of wild Alaska halibut, organic carrots, celery, onions, potatoes, brown rice and cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil.
“Just like homemade and super convenient, every spoonful of our products provides balanced nutrition. Our patented frozen stars form fits perfectly in little hands,” said Maroudas.
The chief executive officer doesn’t miss an opportunity to underscore that in addition to sourcing wild-caught fish from local waters, vegetable ingredients are grown specifically for Bambino’s Frozen Baby Food by certified organic and natural farmers who cultivate Alaska's untainted soils.
"We are in the last frontier, where there are so many qualities that Alaska has that no other place can compete with. Our natural ingredients go directly from the farmer straight into our meals,” she emphasized. – Reported by John Saulnier