There is a void in the food aisle of ready-made, healthy food for babies and toddlers, and two Jamaica Plain moms are aiming to fill that void with their new business, Little Pickins.
Jenn Bingham, who is a physician assistant, certified natural foods chef, and creates all of the recipes, founded Little Pickins. After discussing the struggles of finding healthy food options for their little ones, Bingham teamed up with Kelly Wannier. Wannier, CEO and cofounder, answered questions from Jamaica Plain News about Little Pickins, what made them start the business, and more.
Q: Are you and Jenn both JP residents?
Wannier: We are! We met at a first time mom's group at Mama & Me in Jamaica Plain in February of 2017. Little did we know that that meeting would be impactful to our kids, our friendship, and our careers.
Q: What made you want to create Little Pickins?
Wannier: Jenn and I found there were many options on shelves for purees, but when our kids were ready to move beyond purees, nutritious ready-made options took a nose dive. There was a complete white space in the market for ready-made, healthy food for babies and toddlers. Through the birth of our children came the birth of an idea. Jenn developed and prototyped the Pickins beginning in 2018 and we decided to partner earlier this year.
Q: How did you get started to get the word out about Little Pickins?
Wannier: We started piloting our product at farmers markets in June this year. Our primary customer base is parents, and parents love to share products with their friends that they are passionate about. It's wonderful to see the positive response to our product and the enthusiasm for it from our customers. We've had a lot of organic growth due to enthusiastic parents spreading the word for us.
Q: What does Little Pickins offer?
Wannier: Ready-made, pre-cooked, frozen nutritious bites. Pickins are gummable so they can be enjoyed by babies as young as 10 months. They are packed with vegetables and clean proteins and are flavor forward so that we can cultivate palates at an early age.
Q: How do you test your products?
Wannier: When the product was in initial stages, testing happened through parent volunteers and anonymous surveys. The product was iterated on for 18 months prior to bringing to market. We then tested at farmers markets to get live feedback from parents and kiddos alike. No one is more honest than a child. If they like it, you can be sure they are asking for another sample. If they don't, they aren't afraid to tell you. Children's responses were a great feedback mechanism that we relied on to understand if they enjoyed the product and would eat it at home. When we found kids asking for additional samples, we knew we had something special.
Q: What do you like best about Little Pickins?
Wannier: Giving parents the peace of mind that they can provide their little ones nutritious food with ease. A high quality diet is driven by time spent on meal preparation. This is a conundrum for busy parents. We've broken down that barrier so that parents can give their children a wonderful option that takes only minutes. Meal time is so important and we are incredibly honored that people bring Pickins into their homes to be a part of that.
Q: How can customers purchase Little Pickins?
Wannier: Customers can purchase from our new shop at littlepickins.com/shop.
We deliver in and around the Boston area and provide free delivery on orders over $25. We also offer a monthly subscription that has free delivery.
Q: Is there anything else you'd like to share about Little Pickins?
Wannier: We are driven by three pillars: providing nutritious food to little ones, cultivating palates at an early age, and making parenting just a little bit easier.