Two moms created a lunchbox that makes creating healthy meals for kids a cinch.
Sometimes it seems like nothing is more urgent than feeding kids well. Often, though, this goal can be difficult to meet—kids can be picky eaters, after all, and moms aren’t always around for mealtime. That’s why Yumbox, a new lunchbox developed by moms, is so great. The bento box-style lunch container is designed to teach kids about appropriate portion sizes: Each section of the box is sized according to the kind of food that goes in it, and colorful illustrations act as markers. Coming up with healthy lunch ideas just got that much easier!
ES: How did you two meet, and how did you decide to start a company together?
DD: We met 13 years ago, when we were both working in the international division of United Media (now Peanuts Worldwide). Although Maia moved on to work for Sesame and Scholastic, we remained good friends. It was very obvious early on that we worked well together, and that our talents and interests were aligned. As we both started families and wanted more time with our children, the desire to start a business together began to take shape. We just needed an idea!
ES: What inspired you to start Yumbox?
DD: Maia did! The concept for Yumbox was timely and creative. There was a very obvious need in the market place for a lunch packing product that was both practical and educational. The idea to develop Yumbox made good business sense to me, and I saw it as a way to start a business doing the things I love with someone that I knew and with whom I worked well. I think most people dream of that, so we’re very lucky to have found our niche.
MN: When my older daughter was two she started a full-day daycare where she had to bring in packed lunches. I never felt satisfied with the lunch packing container options, especially since I was already struggling with her being a picky eater. Then, our move to Paris changed her eating habits quite a bit. I really attribute it to the French school canteen system, which emphasizes well-balanced lunches of five small separate courses. My daughter started eating more vegetables (hello beets) and became an adventurous cheese eater.
After we moved to London I had to start packing lunches again, since the school didn’t have kitchen facilities. This time I knew exactly what I wanted in a lunch container: One that could re-create the French lunches, which meant separate courses featuring various food groups, all nicely balanced and with age appropriate portions. I also wanted it to be pretty, fun to use, and leak proof (since she loved to get apple sauce in her lunch!). Since I couldn’t find exactly what I was looking for, I started to sketch out the Yumbox concept. I’m happy to report that now both of my daughters love using Yumbox. And I love to pack it!
ES: What’s the Yumbox goal?
MN: From day one, Yumbox was more than just a lunchbox. We designed Yumbox specifically to educate children—and sometimes parents—on how to prepare healthy meals that are nutritionally balanced and sensitive to portion sizes. While working on the Yumbox design we also created two apps, Kids Food Adventure and Choose My Food, which promote healthy and adventurous eating.
ES: What makes Yumbox different from other lunch trays for kids?
MN: Yumbox was designed by moms of young kids, half of whom are picky eaters. Yumbox is fun, educational, compact and colorful. Our illustrations are not just decorative, they teach children about food groups and remind caretakers to create nutritionally balanced meals. Yumbox also has a portion control feature. Each of the five main food group wells fits ½ cup of food—those portions work well for children up to the age of 10. Portion sizing is quite difficult for many people, but Yumbox truly simplifies the process.