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Cambridge Start-up that Targets Moms is Acquired

Americans have been flocking to natural food products and remedies over the past few years. You likely notice this as the natural aisles in grocery stores expand, and Whole Foods pop up in the Boston area every year. Moreover, moms have been a large purveyor of natural products for themselves and their families. A recent study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau showed that between 2006 and 2014 the percentage of millennial moms who say that they regularly buy organic foods and beverages for their children tripled, and those who used natural remedies for their children when they are sick increased 5-fold.

Building on this trend is a Cambridge-based start-up and 2015 Mass Challenge finalist, Real Food Solutions, that was recently acquired by Pennsylvania-based prenatal supplement company, Pink Stork. Real Food Solutions was founded by two MIT Sloan grads and a faculty member at Harvard Medical School to develop all-natural food solutions, based on clinical research, to digestive health ailments. Last year the company launched their first product, the Anchor Nutrition Bar, for nausea relief from morning sickness, motion sickness, and other causes.

Real Food Solutions founder and MIT grad Neheet Trivedi said he started the company after he watched his sister endure terrible morning sickness during her pregnancy. Trivedi recalled, “It was heartbreaking to watch her suffer. Drugs were an option, but she and her husband were worried about the impact it could have on their baby. I was determined to develop a safe food solution to nausea.”

He teamed up with a classmate from MIT, Kristine Cass—who had spent several years marketing food products and herself suffered from morning sickness during her two pregnancies—and Boston-based gastroenterologist and Harvard faculty member, Dr. Rupa Mukherjee. Dr. Mukherjee said “As a gastroenterologist, I’ve recommended food-based solutions for years but have always searched for a simple, packaged product made from functional ingredients.”

The Anchor Team at Startup Showcase

The Anchor Team at Startup Showcase

The three felt that their missions were a perfect fit. They went on to develop the Anchor Nutrition Bar to offer a drug-free solution to people suffering from nausea from all causes: morning sickness, motion sickness, sea sickness, drug side effects, and more. The bar is high in protein and vitamin B6 and contains ginger, all ingredients that have been proven effective against nausea in clinical studies, and is sold in pharmacies, grocery stores, sporting goods stores, cruise ships, and online.

The Anchor Nutrition Bar was first developed with pregnant women in mind, so it only made sense to include it in the Pink Stork line. Amy Upchurch, co-founder of Pink Stork, said “We have had great feedback on our current teas, prenatal vitamins, and magnesium products, but we’ve noticed a growing interest in real food or snack options. The Anchor Nutrition Bar fits right in our line of products: it’s clean and natural, made of only real foods, and fights morning sickness.”

Pink Stork was founded in 2014 after Amy went through three excruciating pregnancies, spending months in the hospital due to her diagnosis with hyperemesis gravidarum while her husband was deployed oversea. When she learned that she was expecting her fourth child she decided to change her pregnancy protocol: she conducted extensive research and went with all-natural products, and she saw impressive results. After she gave birth to her fourth child, she decided to start Pink Stork to share the remedies that worked so well for her and help women enjoy their pregnancies.

A new version of the Anchor Nutrition Bar, the Away Bar, was launched this month at the Natural Products Expo East tradeshow in Baltimore. Upchurch mentioned that the Away Bar targets pregnant women, but the Anchor Nutrition Bar will remain available for people who use it to prevent and fight nausea from motion sickness, seasickness, and other causes. She also mentioned that Pink Stork will continue to develop the all-natural heartburn bar and other products that Real Food Solutions has in  development.

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