When Little Duck Organics founder Zak Normandin first began navigating the kids’ aisle at the grocery store, he noticed two things: the products totally bored him, and a lot were full of additives.
“The idea from the beginning was to have quality and nutrition. It’s the perceived standard in the category, but a lot of the big brands make products with sugar as a second ingredient and added junk,” he says. “I wanted to create health food that’s wrapped in a really fun brand.”
That’s what he did when he created Little Duck’s signature products, Tiny Fruits, which are just what they sound like: tiny organic snacks made with only 100 percent fruit, dried slowly to preserve nutrients, wrapped in colorful rubber-ducky packaging.
The products, launched in 2010, are now sold in 10,000 stores across the country and are the top seller in their category at Whole Foods. And Little Duck launched Mighty Oats in 2013, a next-gen breakfast cereal that knocks Wheaties out of the park with superfood ingredients like quinoa, amaranth, and chia seeds.
And while his products are made for little ones, Normandin, now father to a seven-, five-, and three-year-old, swears he eats at least one pack a day on his own. “It’s an awesome snack on the go—perfect for a mid-day re-fuel,” he says.
But Brooklyn men can’t live on Tiny Fruits alone. Here’s what the healthy entrepreneur eats at home with his family in Fort Greene.
You have way more beverages than food. So…do you ever eat? When I looked at the picture, I actually had that thought, like ‘Jeez! This looks like a beverage-only diet,’ but it wasn’t intended as such. The kids are always drinking juice, and then it’s just convenient to have fresh drinks in the fridge. And whenever we run to the grocery store buy vegetables or stuff for dinner or whatever, its typically for that same day. It’s just easier. You know how it is in New York.
I do! What’s that juice brand next to the Plan Tea? I’ve never seen it before. It’s the Whole Foods brand from their new store in Gowanus. They do their own juicing, which is by far the cheapest. It’s like four bucks for one of those. They’re juicing it right there. Killer deal.
How about the yogurt? You’ve got four different kinds. Is it a breakfast staple? Yeah, the kids love mixing fruit and yogurt together, and maybe a little bit of maple syrup. They also love the Siggi’s drinkable yogurt. And the Greek Yogurt + Chia is from a brand-new brand The Epic Seed. We just started buying it. The brand is super, super small, but it’s really good.
Do you guys cook a lot at home? We do make a lot of dinners in, like pasta, or rice, a vegetable, and chicken or seafood. All of the kids eat fish, which is really good. And I like to get the kids involved. My oldest daughter loves baking and breakfasts are big. We always do big breakfasts on the weekend, like pancakes and eggs. But honestly it’s just as common to grab take-out. In New York, good food is very easy to get, so it’s just so easy to do Seamless. Plus, in Fort Greene, there are so many great restaurants. I don’t make it a habit to take the kids out, but naturally in New York, it’s just a normal thing for them. I think it’s good to learn at a young age how to have manners while you’re out. —Lisa Elaine Held
For more information, visit www.littleduckorganics.com