I pondered my first “official” blog post for a long time. But then realized, I need to start at the beginning.
You probably know by now that I have been a food scientist for over 40 years. But what is food science anyway? It is the science of turning plant and animal products into food that can be stored for periods of time and still be safe and delicious. What is the difference between a chef and a food scientist? A chef makes food that tastes great right now. But a food scientist has to make food that tastes great right now AND a year or more from now – without making anyone sick!
I specialize in new product development and have developed thousands of products for markets all over the world. But then why, after a successful career, when I could comfortably retire, would I develop and then launch, my own product line? I can’t name the feeling exactly, but I can tell you it felt like climbing a mountain. I could see the top up there, and darned if I was going to stop or turn around until I went to see what was up ahead!
You see, I knew all about developing and manufacturing delicious, safe food. And thanks to a life-long fascination with nutrition (my Mom was a home economics teacher, and my Dad has sent me the Tuft’s Nutrition Newsletter for more years than I can remember), I also knew what those foods do in your body. I had studied the Dietary guidelines for Americans, nutrients of concern, and healthy eating patterns. I knew the hazards of too much sugar and salt; and the benefits of a plant based diet. As a vegetarian for decades, I could feel the difference in my own body. I knew that a healthy diet can reduce or even reverse many chronic diseases.
But I was alarmed by what I saw at the grocery store. Aisle after aisle of salty snacks and sugary beverages, and hundreds, probably thousands, of products that suggest they are “good for you” when they really aren’t. Sure, you could buy ingredients and in an hour or so, prepare yourself something healthy. But what if you don’t have that kind of time, or you don’t want or know how to cook? What if you need it to be as easy as instant ramen? What then?
That is where Yumbini started. I originally named it “Bean Waiting” because I think it is the product for which the world has “bean waiting”! Rice and beans were the obvious perfect starting point, but I had to search for pre-cooked versions for fast preparation and the perfect seasoning blends to avoid added sugar and too much salt. Then there were the manufacturing and packaging challenges. And of course I wanted to make sure the finished product was satisfying and filling but not too expensive! But, nearly 4 years later, Yumbini is finally ready – a product that is truly healthy and as convenient as instant ramen.
Last step is to make sure everyone knows about it! Won’t you help me? Please tell your friends, sign up for our newsletter and follow us on Instagram @eatyumbini.