Founder of Yummy Spoonfuls, Agatha Achindu, wears many hats, and perhaps it’s no coincidence that they all happen to be fabulous. Her dedication to delivering delicious, nutritious, organic, and accessible meals directly to today’s youth first took root in her mother’s garden in Cameroon, West Africa. Achindu’s passion for nutrition has since grown into lifelong labor of love, one that is grounded deeply in her faith, family, and fierce fidelity for her health-conscious cause.
When she’s not waking up at the crack of dawn, volunteering at church, cooking nutritious meals for her family, overseeing homework sessions, or advocating for the health of our children, Agatha Achindu is busy making the dream of having it all, seem possible, after all. While she certainly has much to teach us, and we, admittedly, have much to learn- we do know one thing- we’ll have what she’s having.
Give us a glimpse behind the scenes – what does a day in your life look like?
When I am home, I usually get up around 5 a.m., say a prayer of gratitude, drink a 16 oz. glass of water (I sometimes add some freshly squeezed lemon juice). On some days, when I am able to go to the gym, I get back home by 6 a.m. I get breakfast ready for the kiddo (we do a lot of meal prep on the weekends, so usually, it is a heat and serve. We are a cereal-free home so breakfast is very intentional). I leave home at 6:35 a.m. for school drop-off (a minute later, our 45-minute drive will take over an hour). Religiously, for the past 15 years, on Tuesdays, I go to our church as a volunteer adorer for my parish when I am home. Then, I am off to work, I read and respond to each and every customer email, text, letter, or social inquiry related to Yummy Spoonfuls, then meetings and recipe development are everyday activities. Around midday, I take a lunch break. There are days when I would break-my-fast at 10 a.m. I only eat when I am hungry, my meals are typically planned, whatever I am eating will have a ton of veggies, some protein (typically fish), some fat (avocado or nuts), some carbs (potato or plantains). At 5:15 p.m., I pick up kiddo from school, homework supervision and dinner preparation usually goes together (Tuesdays are usually Tacos for dinner), catch the news or a favorite show on OWN, then back at the computer for a couple of hours of work (I am working hard to break this habit), quiet time with hubby, prayer time with kiddo, read a book (I read a lot, and I use my audiobooks during those times that I can’t turn pages because both hands would be busy), then it’s prayer time, and off to bed around 11 p.m. by God’s special grace. I am becoming more intentional about bedtime.
How would you describe the ideology behind your brand and where did the name Yummy Spoonfuls come from?
We believe nutrition is the next great frontier in extending our health-span. At Yummy Spoonfuls, we make super delicious and nutritious meals for kids easily accessible! We want to help parents give the gift of healthy eating to a new generation. We are creating yummy recipes kids love that are packed with wholesome, organic ingredients so that the taste is always as good as the intrinsic goodness inside.
Oh, how we came up with the name Yummy Spoonfuls is a long story but here is the very short version. The original name we picked, by the time we got around to registering the name with the USPTO (The United States Patent and Trademark Office), someone had already registered it as her mom’s group name. I was distraught, then I called my friend Aunty Sherri (youngest son’s godmother). We were a few months to the official launching event and just like that we had to change names. She said that ‘my food is always yummy, that I am trying to change how we feed children from day one’ first spoonful’ I thought about that and boom, how about Yummy Spoonfuls? I am so in awe of God’s timing and interceptions in my life, He knew Yummy Spoonfuls would be just the perfect name with the right ring to it.
Does Yummy Spoonfuls contain any preservatives or additives?
I fundamentally believe all pesticides are by definition toxins or they would not kill pests, it is a risk I take very seriously. For years I spent my free time teaching parents how to make healthy, delicious foods at home for their children. I taught busy parents how to navigate the grocery aisles, read food labels and avoid preservatives and additives as much as humanly possible.
While this issue will continue to be a controversial topic between those who argue against the clinical trials that link preservatives and additives to some serious health issues such as cancer, asthma, allergies, depressed immune systems, etc., and those who believe it is as dangerous as it sounds. According to the National Academy of Science “By the time the average child is a year old, s/he will have received the acceptable lifetime doses of eight pesticides from 20 commonly eaten foods.” To me, the real danger of natural or synthetic food additives and preservatives is that no one knows what the true collective dangers are, they might even be worse than what we think. Yummy Spoonfuls is made without additives or preservatives, made with fresh organic ingredients that you can find in your own kitchen, so parents can have the peace of mind while their children get the nutrients they need to fully thrive from every delicious Yummy Spoonful or Yummy bite.
What inspired you to create an organic food company for children?
The inspiration for Yummy Spoonfuls really started in my mother’s garden. I grew up in Cameroon, West Africa, on a family farm. We always ate the freshest vegetables and fruits and my mother prepared everything from scratch. This knowledge has informed my entire life. When I moved to the United States, I realized a lot of the chronic illness were diet-related. I started helping my friends in school update their favorite recipes, I became the go-to-person for healthy recipes. When my youngest child, Jared-Zane, came along in 2004, I became more purposeful in my need to serve and help parents understand the direct relationship between the food they are feeding their kids and the impact on their overall health.
I started teaching healthy-eating workshops at local hospitals and Mommy & Me meet-up groups, sharing my home experiences and my kids’ health, which I believe is due to a powerful immune system as a result of their diet. Parents were lining up to learn more, that little group of parents on my monthly free workshop grew.
But as a mother, I fundamentally believe that healthy, delicious kids’ food is a birthright to every child, given that so much of their health and development depend on the food they eat.
Did you know that food is a crucial factor in a child’s neurodevelopment and lifelong mental health? Child and adult health risks, including obesity, hypertension, and diabetes, may be programmed by nutritional status during this period.
Every child deserves access to the same high-quality home-made food those who have the time to make their own food at home love so much. A parent shouldn’t be made to feel guilty because they don’t have the time or knowledge to make their own food. Parents shouldn’t have to choose between convenience, healthy eating and great taste. In 2006, I decided to risk it all to bring the same high-quality food I feed my own family to market, made like you would at home, using the freshest ingredients with nothing artificial added to it and preserved using time-tested freezing as we all do in our own home kitchens.
How do you create each recipe for Yummy Spoonfuls? Are all your products frozen?
I started cooking when I was very young. Fun fact about me; at age 9, I made a 3-layered cake from scratch. Cooking comes naturally to me. I jokingly tell friends that it is my special gift from God, because of how good I am at it. Now, as an Integrative Nutritionist, I take the healthiest ingredients and make them finger-licking good. Every recipe starts in my kitchen.
What ages are your products for?
Currently, Yummy Spoonfuls meals are for 1-5 years old kids though lots of adults enjoy our delicious taste. You can find us in the freezer section of your local Walmart.
Which seals of approval does your brand have?
Yummy Spoonfuls is USDA certified, NON-GMO, Clean Label Project Verified (this is a seal we are extremely proud of, we go above and beyond organic)
Is Yummy Spoonfuls associated with any charitable organization? If yes, which one(s)?
Through our Spoonfuls of Giving Campaign, we have donated over half a million dollars’ worth of food to the Today Show Toy Drive, Feeding America, Baby 2 Baby, Boys and Girls Clubs of Huntington Valley, California India Center, Feed The Children, Capital Area Food Bank, etc. Feed the Children is our charitable partner.
You founded Yummy Spoonfuls and your partner is Camila Alves (who is married to Matthew McConaughey), what role do you have and what role does she have within Yummy Spoonfuls?
After over 10 years of working extremely long hours doing everything from recipes development, customer service, sales, marketing, broker, CEO, etc., it was a blessing to have someone else come on and share responsibility. In the beginning, when Camila first came on board, we were both in the trenches, our responsibilities were simple, get the job done, whatever it was. Today we now have an amazing team that helps with the everyday running of the company. I am currently the VP of Marketing and still our recipe developer, and Camila is our Brand Architect.
Are you a home cook or a professionally trained chef?
I am a home cook that has been traditionally trained by the generations of women in my family to cook fresh from the ground produce. I never did culinary schooling, but I have cooked with the best of the best around the world. Recently, I took a cooking class with a renowned chef in India.
Best advice you ever received?
Do unto others like you would like done to you. This was a mantra I grew up hearing that still defines my life today. If we could all treat others the way we want to be treated, imagine the beautiful world that would be.
What advice would you give those looking to have a career in the food industry?
Well, basically regardless of the industry, I would advise aspiring entrepreneurs to consider three things: authenticity, support, and money. It is most important to make sure that your idea flows from your passion and your gifts. Your idea has to be authentic to you, it has to be the thing that gets you out of bed every day because it isn’t going to be easy! Secondly, you will need an excellent support network. Owning your own business can afford a level of freedom and flexibility that allows you to really have it all. But one person cannot do everything. You will need partners – spouse, family members, friends, and others who want to help.
And, last but not least, you will need a sound financial plan. My husband, Georges and I, invested everything we had in the business. It was terrifying and could have gone badly, but God had our backs. In hindsight, it would have been better to gain financing for the business before quitting my job as an IT executive – that way, we would have been able to save our own money for the future. My plea to those coming into the food industry, let’s all commit to bringing more life-giving products to market, rather than disease-causing.
Name 3 of your favorite beauty nècessitiès that you can’t live without:
Coconut oil, family and God
What are your self-care nécessités?
The older I get, the more I realize the power of self-love. As women, we take care of everyone else, but we sometimes forget to extend the same care and consideration to ourselves. Only when we are healthy, vibrantly happy and full of energy can we truly make a difference in our world and beyond. I am a firm believer that you can’t pour from an empty cup, self-care is a nécessités. There is more to self-care than a mani padi or day at the spa. It starts with prioritizing myself.
I purposefully make time to do what makes me happy and healthy and I do it consistently. On some days, that might be cooking; some days it might be going to the spa; some days it is going out with friends; some days it is that extra hour of sleep; some days it is running in the rain like I did as a child; some days it reminiscing about my parents; some days it is volunteering at church, and some days might be a simple cup of tea. The key is me doing what makes my heart smile. I can’t even begin to stress how intentional I am about this ‘me time.’