Erica Huss and Zoe Sakoutis know a little something about making nutrient-packed products that people want. With BluePrint, after all, they turned an idea for a bottled juice cleanse into a mega juice retailer (that later sold to Hain Celestial) and helped spark a cold-pressed juice industry boom across the country.
Now, they’re directing their pioneering powers at a different wellness product: prenatal vitamins…in biscuit form.
“We have conversations about everything,” says Huss, “and a topic that just kept coming up was how difficult and unpleasant the whole experience of taking prenatal vitamins is.” It was a point of discussion even before Sakoutis (pictured) had a baby last year, but it really drove the business concept home.
While many doctors, researchers, and wellness experts disagree on the kinds and amounts of vitamins pregnant women should take, almost all agree that pregnancy is the one time it’s definitely worth taking them, especially to meet the higher daily requirements for folate/folic acid (which prevents birth defects), iron, and calcium. One influential study also showed that women who had children with autism were significantly less likely to have taken prenatal vitamins.
And most prenatals on the market contain a much heavier cocktail than the three nutrients mentioned, in much higher doses than you’d find in a normal multi. “They’re horse pills,” says Sakoutis. “They’re nauseating for the vast majority of people, and then on top of that, you have nausea that just comes with being pregnant, so you’re kind of adding insult to injury.”
Their solution is Erzo Foods Vitamin Biscuits, a line of vitamin-fortified foods that fall somewhere between a cracker and a cookie (put the kettle on!) and come in packages of three (to meet your daily requirements), which Huss and Sakoutis say women can eat for breakfast or throw in their purse for a snack later on.
“You find yourself chasing those horse pills with something starchy, like you would eat if you were sick—a cracker, something dry, not too strong of a flavor,” Sakoutis explains. “The idea is…why not combine the two and make it a nourishing snack?”
Erzo’s biscuits come in four flavors—Oat, Apple Cinnamon, Strawberry Greek Yogurt, and Ginger—plus a gluten-free version of the Oat, all made with organic grains (the rest of the ingredients are not 100 percent organic, but all are non-GMO).
I found them to be pretty tasty, although the “vitamin aftertaste” (which I tend to be very sensitive to) still didn’t sit well with me after. An actually pregnant staffer at Well+Good, on the other hand, said it didn’t bother her at all (and you could always wash it down with a BluePrint Pineapple-Apple-Mint, no?).
Also, each bite comes with a greater purpose. For every box sold, Erzo is donating an equivalent dose of vitamins to pregnant women who need them in developing countries, through Vitamin Angels. That would make any pill easier to swallow, although that won’t be necessary. —Lisa Elaine Held
For more information, visit Erzofoods.com
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