NEW YORK — A mom on a smoothie kick plus a little girl with an adventurous appetite turned out to be the ideal formula for a lucrative business.
While Wendy McKenna was drinking one of her fruit and vegetable smoothies, her 8-year-old daughter Ruby asked to taste her mother’s “weird green drink.” Ruby wasn’t a fan of the celery and ginger in the smoothie, so the mother-daughter duo spent hours in their kitchen whipping up a fruit and vegetable blend Ruby would like. Once they did, they took it to the next child-friendly level by making the mix into ice pops, and Ruby Rocket’s was born.
The company started in 2013 with three ice pop flavors in 52 stores and now sells eight flavors in more than 2,850 stores.
The flavors all feature space-themed names because of Ruby’s love for astronomy and science: Rock-It Red, Orbit Orange, Galaxy Green, Gravity Grape, Celestial Cherry, Meteorite Mango, Far Out Fudge, and Planetary Pink Lemonade. Made with 70% organic fruits and vegetables and infused with healthy probiotics, the pops are non-G.M.O., dairy-free and gluten-free. They contain no added sugars, artificial flavors, artificial colors, fillers or stabilizers.
|Carl Gerlach, c.e.o. of Ruby Rocket’s|
“We feel it is the consumers’ right to know what they are eating and putting into their bodies and thus are very transparent about how we make our products,” said Carl Gerlach, chief executive officer of Ruby Rocket’s. “So, being transparent with ingredients and sourcing all non-G.M.O. ingredients is something we take seriously. We work closely with local farms to harvest fresh fruits, vegetables and other ingredients for our products, including fair-trade cocoa. The decision to use fair-trade cocoa shows our commitment to not only providing the best products to our consumers, but also our commitment as a brand to improving the snack category.”
The company now is entering a new market with its Ruby Rocket’s Non-Dairy Fruit & Veggie Blends — a shelf-stable, non-dairy yogurt alternative that comes in 2-oz tubes for easy snacking. Available in Beam Me Up Berry, Stellar Strawberry, and Telescopic Tropic, the tubes contain at least 90% organic ingredients and are non-G.M.O., gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan and kosher.
Mr. Gerlach said the yogurt alternatives “simultaneously solve” both retailer and consumer needs. Retailers struggle with selling yogurt products before expiration date, and Ruby Rocket’s tubes have a 90-day shelf life and can remain unrefrigerated. This also helps moms feel better about packing the tubes in their kids’ lunchboxes, he said, because they’ll still be good after sitting in a locker all day and be good for them.
|Marcia Bateson, co-executive chair of Ruby Rocket’s|
In the future, Marcia Bateson, co-executive chair of Ruby Rocket’s, said the company plans to expand into more new categories that cater to healthy families.“We’re a small company with big ambitions and a big heart,” Ms. Bateson said. “We are constantly innovating our products to reach our target — the active woman and her family — optimizing products for her, as well as her children.”