February 14, 2017

TwoDads’ two-for-one: More content, less sugar

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Parents across the world all want the same thing – to enable their kids to grow happy, healthy and smart. Finnish company TwoDads is here to help them out, by making it easier to find healthy and nutritious everyday foods.

Too much sugar and salt, too little fibre and wrong kinds of fat. Tino Singh and Sami Kuusisto, the founders of TwoDads, weren’t happy with the nutritional content of children’s food in local supermarkets.

There were elements of cognitive dissonance, too. The paternal duo were marketing professionals, and they had been working in the fast-moving consumer goods sector. This included helping to boost the sales of multinational corporations’ food brands.

Then both men became fathers.

“We didn’t want to give our kids the same products that we were helping companies to market to parents,” Singh recalls. “We asked ourselves: What company could we trust as parents to put our kids’ interest before shareholder value? We looked around the shelves in supermarkets and we couldn’t find one.”

The consequences of the industry putting money before kids’ health is dramatic. According to the World Health Organisation, childhood obesity is one of the most serious public health challenges of our time. One in three kids in Europe are overweight.

The two fathers thus decided to take matters into their own hands, and set out to establish the first healthy kids’ food company in Finland.

Hunger grows for healthy

Singh and Kuusisto were quick to admit that they were no experts in nutrition or food manufacturing. Fortunately, a friend suggested they seek help from the University of Helsinki. Much to their surprise and delight, the scientists at the university loved the idea and were soon onboard.

TwoDads aims to make the healthy option an easy one for families.

TwoDads aims to make the healthy option an easy one for families.

TwoDads

“We were also lucky to find a leading European expert in diabetes, doctor Timo Valle, who joined the cause and brought in his peers from various fields of medical science,” Singh tells.

Through their cooperation, TwoDads then collected seed funding for kick-starting product development.

Amongst other things their research underlined the fact that breakfast is the first meal where healthy options are sorely needed. Thus, the inaugural item they are hoping to stock supermarket shelves with later this year is cereal. Although porridge and cereal are often deemed healthy options, the lion’s share of them are actually often packed with sugar.

“Many big companies want to convey the perception of healthiness without explicitly claiming the product is healthy,” Singh explains. “We know ­– that’s what we used to do for a living!”

TwoDads aims to make the healthy option an easy one, too. Often parents are the ones left feeling guilty about their kids’ poor nutrition, whereas Singh wants to make producers and shops more responsible. Because the morning hours can be busy and full of hassle, healthy choices need to be easy and speedy for all.

Chasing the missing ingredient

Aside from filling kid’s cereal bowls with a healthy alternative, the next products in the pipeline for TwoDads are juices and other staple foods.

Now, after completing the product development together with food manufacturers, it’s time to get the production capacity ready.

The dads have also stoked the interest of potential customers and travelled to fairs abroad to promote their doing. The goal is to start distribution in the Nordic countries, and then move on to the rest of Europe and Asia.

As the food business is capital intensive, the entrepreneurs have been negotiating with investors to fund the operation. The production needs to reach volumes that enable keeping prices low, so that the end products are a financially viable option for all family shoppers.

Furthermore, in addition to health, TwoDads want to spread the Nordic gender equality and highlight the role of dads in caring for their children. Even in Finland, there is a lot of magazine and forum content on offer for mums, but dads might still find it difficult to find peer support.

Thanks to the efforts of TwoDads, fathers around the world can rest assured they aren’t the only gents on the lookout for what’s best for their offspring in future.

 

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