The research was there. The chemists had come up with some solutions. But Denise Devine wasn’t ready—or, more to the point, the market wasn’t ready.
By blending her business acumen, experience in the food industry and passion for children’s nutrition, Devine developed a new way to overcome obstacles in a market that talked about healthy foods but wasn’t quite ready to embrace them. Finally, it was time to get into the arena.
Devine’s first step is Froose, a fruit snack with a smiling moose on the package and three grams of fiber in each serving. Instead of flavoring the product with processed sugar, Devine chose fruit juice. She’s devoted to the idea that it’s possible to produce food kids will like without filling it with stuff that’s not good for them.
“When I started getting serious about children’s nutrition and obesity, I looked at all the macro issues,” says Devine, who lives in Media. “It impacts everything, including healthcare costs. It’s even a matter of national security if our young people aren’t in good enough shape to serve.”
Froose is the first step in what Devine hopes will be a line of products. After spending time in corporate finance with Campbell’s Soup, she reached out to the International Food Network at Cornell University and worked with some food chemists. She also researched the development company Nutripharm, which is dedicated to the concept of developing foods that taste good, are convenient and based on whole-food concepts. “We wanted to grow it from the ground up,” Devine says.
At first, Devine felt her ideas were “way ahead of the market.” But as time passed, the opportunity arrived to offer a product.
Froose is now found in stores throughout the area, with wider distribution as the goal. Next up is a smoothie-type beverage Devine describes as “a non-dairy frozen confection.”
Granted, some key consumer habits still need changing. But Devine his confident that her products will help parents find healthier ways to feed their kids. “It’s time to see what happens with it,” Devine says.