Organic baby food a hit for Bebo
Necessity might be the mother of invention, and three sisters' Hilliard-based baby food business was born out of a mother's need.
"My son got to the point where he didn't like the foods that I was picking up at the grocery store," said Cintia Ulloa-Hays. "I started making my own and he was eating those pretty well. At the day care center, the other moms liked the food that I was sending over with my son to eat, and I started selling things."
Cintia and her sisters, Ariana Ulloa-Olavarrieta and Tania Ulloa-Malav, have young children and day jobs, and they reasoned if other moms are having similar trouble feeding their babies, perhaps they should go into business together.
"We couldn't have had better partners," Cintia said. "Ariana is the business mind, I'm more of the operations person and then we have our designer Tania. So we make a good team."
Bebo Organics went into business last August, with its products being sold at the Worthington Farmers Market. They will be at the fifth annual Baby Bonanza and Kids Expo on Sunday, March 27 at the Aladdin Shrine Event Center. And the sisters recently launched a website, www. beboorganics.com, on Facebook and are taking orders.
About the name: Bebo (pronounced BAY-boh) is a Spanish term of endearment for a baby.
The sisters make nine baby food products - five in stage three (sweet potato chicken delight, black bean sweet potato blend, harvest turkey stew, mango tango puree, appleberry blast) and four in stage four (grandma's noodle soup, chunky beef with veggies, creamy chicken bisque, perfect peach puree). Each container costs $2.50.
Cintia explained the four stages of baby food. One is single-ingredient items that can be drunk through a straw; stage two is similar, but a blend of ingredients; stage three is a little chunkier; and stage four is extra chunky, a bridge between baby and adult food.
Bebo Organics' products are made in a commercial kitchen in Athens. After simmering the all-organic ingredients at low temperatures, they are flash-frozen to preserve vitamins and nutrients.
"A lot of the containers that you buy at the grocery store are shelf stable, so they can sit right on the shelf without refrigeration for about a year," Ariana said. "It just didn't sit with us very well. We started looking into it, and we found out food has to be cooked for very high temperatures for an extended period of time, and it actually cooks out a lot of the vitamins. We wanted to provide our kids with better than that."
Long-term, the sisters hope to put bar codes on their products and sell them to area day cares and grocery stores.
"We've been getting a lot of very good feedback at the farmers markets the last few months that we've been there. Everybody that walks by goes, this is such a great idea," Ariana said. "Now with our website, I think we're really going to start branching out to a larger audience."
No matter how the business fares, the sisters' four children have been eating healthy food.
"We're constantly using them as our four guinea pigs," Tania said. "I think Cintia's kids are the ones that had to taste the bad ones, but I think my son has got to reap the benefits, because he gets the ones that have been filtered out by his cousins."