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Got To Be Real: The Organic Baby Food Brand That’s Keepin’ It Real
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Got To Be Real: The Organic Baby Food Brand That’s Keepin’ It Real

Raised Real is reimagining what baby food can be. These nutritious, ready-to-make meals taste so good that even adults will want to eat them

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5 min read

January 08, 2021

When people think of baby food, jars of mush lining grocery store aisles often come to mind. But Raised Real is reimagining what baby food can be. The San Francisco-based company uses organic ingredients from sustainable farms to create wholesome, nutritious meals for tiny humans and deliver them to households across the country. 

Each box of flash-frozen food pouches contains pre-portioned, pre-chopped, age-appropriate ingredients for babies six months and older, providing young children with healthy meals while also simplifying the lives of busy and stressed-out parents.

Raised Real encourages hands-on eating, too—the meals can be consumed as finger foods or eaten with utensils—so kids have opportunities to eat independently. From peas with broccoli and mint to carrots with apple and turmeric, the Raised Real meals create a sensory eating experience for little ones and introduce them to unique flavors. (Say goodbye to basic banana and peach baby food.) 

Raised Real makes it easy for parents to provide their children with nutritious, plant-based meals. Photo courtesy of Nicole Morrison Photography.

Raised Real co-founder Santiago Merea knows all too well how difficult it can be to make well-balanced meals for kids, so his baby food brand aims to provide a quick and easy way for parents to give their children plant-based, nutrient-dense meals that taste so delicious even grown humans want to eat them. When he became a father to two twin boys, Merea found himself frustrated by the limited options available to parents in grocery stores, so he began making his own baby food.

Leveraging his background in the food business, the former Orange Chef CEO experimented with a variety of ingredients to craft large meals and then freeze portions of them to use later. Fast-forward to 2016, and Raised Real was born. Since then, Merea and his fellow co-founder, Steven Kontz, had shipped over 2 million organically sourced, ready-to-make meals for babies and toddlers to families nationwide.

We set out to see what all the hype was about: Is this really one of the best baby food brands out there? 

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Our Raised Real Review: What You Need to Know About This Baby Food Brand

I’ll preface this review by saying that I do not have a baby and do not plan to have one in the near future, but as someone who enjoys food of all kinds—even those meant for kids (I’ve eaten my fair share of chicken nuggets and mac and cheese as an adult)—I figured I would try the Raised Real baby food. For good measure, other team members with kiddos also tried the various recipes and shared their impressions with me.

Raised Real can deliver curated, ready-to-make meals straight to your door. Photo courtesy of Raised Real.

First Impressions

Raised Real is surprisingly hip for a baby food brand, and I appreciated the pop culture references on the packaging—all of which is recyclable or biodegradable. The 12 meals I received were an assortment of six curated recipes (you can set your ingredient preferences before you order meals) containing fruits, vegetables, and micronutrients that are particularly beneficial during a child’s early developmental stages. The accompanying recipe cards specified the health benefits and nutritional facts of each meal alongside the directions. They were simple enough: 

  1. Place the meal in a saucepan with some water.
  2. Cover and bring water to a boil over medium heat.
  3. Reduce to a simmer and steam for five to six minutes. 
  4. Blend, mash, or serve the meal as is.


Raised Real Taste Test

Raised Real meals help introduce youngsters to unique flavors and a variety of textures. Photo courtesy of Nicole Morrison Photography.

Raspberry, sweet potato, ground pumpkin seeds, cardamom, coconut butter

Health benefits: vision support, digestive support, bone health

Woah, this combination threw me for a loop at first. The aroma was reminiscent of curry—and a colleague said it smelled like a South Asian dessert she ate growing up—though the meal tasted nothing like Asian cuisine. It was a bit strange at first, especially since I tasted the subtle tang of the raspberries more than the sweetness of the sweet potatoes, but it grew on me; the cardamom added fruity and piney notes, while the seeds provided some crunch.

Butternut squash, banana, white quinoa, cardamom, coconut butter

Health benefits: muscle development, brain development, vision support

The aroma of this meal was similar to that of the one above, but it tasted slightly sweeter thanks to the banana. This meal would be an ideal choice for parents looking to introduce their children to more unique spices and flavors.

Give kids their fill of greens and nurture healthy obsessions with healthy ingredients. Photo courtesy of Raised Real.

Peas, zucchini, hemp seeds, basil, avocado oil

Health benefits: muscle development, brain development, digestive support 

Feed this to your kids early on, and they might just grow up to actually like veggies. (Wouldn’t that be amazing?) The vibrant, refreshing combination tastes akin to a vegetable side dish that youngsters are (hopefully) bound to love. Note that there is no added salt, so adult taste-testers may prefer a pinch or two of salt and pepper. 

Oats, blueberry, strawberry, date, cranberry seed oil

Health benefits: brain development, immunity boosting, digestive support

This tasted about how I expected. It reminded me of eating oatmeal with berries as a kid, and the cranberry seed oil added a nice touch. I could see young kids of all ages enjoying this approachable, familiar meal. 

With this baby food brand, utensils are optional—hands-on eating is encouraged. Photo courtesy of Nicole Morrison Photography.

Oats, butternut squash, mango, ginger, coconut butter

Health benefits: brain development, immunity boosting, digestive support

This one was my favorite! It made my kitchen smell like coconut, and I wasn’t mad about it; more importantly, it tasted delicious. The pleasant pops of sweet mango were complemented by the hints of ginger and coconut, which lingered on the palate. I’m certain humans of all ages will approve of this warming, hearty meal.

Raised Real baby food is the real deal. Photo courtesy of Nicole Morrison Photography.

Final Thoughts

I’m not a parent, so I can’t fully speak to how Raised Real baby food might benefit your child or your life, but based on my experience and knowledge of the brand, I definitely think it’s worth trying. The taste-tasting parents on our team agree; they were thoroughly impressed. 

You receive a rotating menu of breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner options; curated, nutritionist-approved meals based on your ingredient preferences; the flexibility to customize or change your plan anytime; and even access to the company’s Real Hotline, where you can text questions or simply get a pep talk. Best of all, the organic, plant-based meals are delivered straight to your door and ready to purée, smash, or grab. 

Note that Raised Real meals are only available online for now. You can choose between two different plans: 12 meals for $65.88 ($5.49 per meal) or 24 meals for $119.76 ($4.99 per meal). But no matter what plan you go with, rest assured you’ll receive wholesome food with the perfect balance of healthy fats, protein, and superfood ingredients for your child. What’s not to like? 

Note: This product was independently reviewed by California.com. We did not receive compensation for writing this review. 

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