Category Archives: News & Interviews

The Year of The Movment

2014: The Year of The Movement

The Year of The Movment

2013 saw unprece­dented growth for Whole­some Tum­mies as our Move­ment spread to many new cor­ners of the map. What started seven years ago as a sim­ple idea to feed school­child­ren food that is actu­ally good for them has sparked the imag­i­na­tions of entre­pre­neurs across the coun­try, more than tripling the num­ber of com­mu­ni­ties we serve in just one year!  As we wel­come 2014, our school lunch con­cept — WT Café — is now serv­ing 22 ter­ri­to­ries includ­ing our nation’s cap­i­tal. (For a com­plete list of Wt Cafe loca­tions, please visit our web­site.)

 Now that we have proven that ours is a con­cept Amer­ica was wait­ing for, we are even more com­mit­ted to shar­ing our mis­sion with the rest of the world!  That’s why we are intro­duc­ing our first ever Refer­ral Pro­gram, ask­ing your help to find qual­i­fied entre­pre­neurs who are inspired to ignite change in their own back­yards and fur­ther our mis­sion to change the way kids eat in school.


Dates: Jan­u­ary 1, 2014 through July 31, 2014

Refer­ral Award: $3,000

It’s easy to par­tic­i­pate! Just fol­low these three sim­ple steps:


Step One: Sub­mit the WT Café Refer­ral Agree­ment  - click here to down­load the refer­ral agreement

Step Two: Reach out to your per­sonal and pro­fes­sional net­work and find out who would be inter­est­ing in Join­ing the Movement!

Step Three: Start sub­mit­ting refer­rals! All we need is basic con­tact infor­ma­tion for inter­ested can­di­dates and we will han­dle the rest!


Thank you for mak­ing 2013 our best year ever and here’s to an even bet­ter new year ahead!


The Movement is Growing: Thanks to You!

blog-wtcountryThanks to car­ing par­ents and schools across the coun­try, The Move­ment for bet­ter, health­ier school lunch is grow­ing by leaps and bounds! Looks like the word is out! We have received hun­dreds of requests from pas­sion­ate entre­pre­neurs who want to bring our healthy school solu­tion to their com­mu­ni­ties. We are thrilled to announce that so far this year, we have added a total of eleven new locations:

  • 4 in Col­orado: Col­orado Springs and Denver
  • 1 in Florida: Ft. Lauderdale
  • 1 in Geor­gia: Augusta
  • 1 in Idaho: Boise
  • 1 in Min­nesota: Minneapolis
  • 1 in Penn­syl­va­nia: York
  • 2 in Texas: Austin and Houston

We are hum­bled by all the inter­est and excite­ment brew­ing across Amer­ica, and look for­ward to expand­ing The Move­ment to many more loca­tions later this year! If you know of a school or city that is ready to make stu­dent health a pri­or­ity, please just let us know. We will reach out to them and get the process started. School lunch was never like this!

girl shopping

In the News: Food Marketing to Children

girl shopping


From Coca-Cola’s holiday-time polar bears to McDonald’s Happy Meal toys, vir­tu­ally every junk food com­pany tar­gets ads at young, impres­sion­able audi­ences.  We find the vast array of mar­ket­ing schemes these com­pa­nies have up their sleeves to lure chil­dren to be truly mind-boggling!


In spite of a Decem­ber 2012 Fed­eral Trade Com­mis­sion report stat­ing a decrease in adver­tis­ing costs used to pro­mote food to chil­dren, we now know that this decrease was the result of switch­ing over to cheaper online ads. This means that there was actu­ally an increase in mar­ket­ing using dig­i­tal ads geared towards young peo­ple.  An increase?  Huh?  How can it be that in mod­ern times of sky­rock­et­ing obe­sity, dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing to chil­dren is increas­ing?  What is going on?


Much cheaper than tra­di­tional TV ads, online mar­ket­ing cam­paigns are the top choice for many food com­pa­nies to push their prod­ucts to chil­dren. These adver­tis­ing meth­ods have been proven to pro­mote brand loy­alty, to derive more inter­ac­tion from kids and teenagers, and to cre­ate “pester power”.  Pester power is the notion that chil­dren will pester their par­ents into buy­ing a food prod­uct that has been directly mar­keted to them.


Another issue is the self-regulatory nature of the pledges that many com­pa­nies have made to curb adver­tis­ing aimed at chil­dren.  This debate dates back to 1977 when two non-profit orga­ni­za­tions, Action for Children’s Tele­vi­sion and Cen­ter for Sci­ence in the Pub­lic Inter­est, sub­mit­ted a peti­tion to the FTC request­ing that ads for sug­ary drinks and snacks stop being aimed at chil­dren.  Who can’t get behind a peti­tion like that?


Well, the debate con­tin­ued for sev­eral years dur­ing which time the FTC requested that other approaches be used when mar­ket­ing to young peo­ple.  The FTC even rec­om­mended (news­flash!) incor­po­rat­ing nutri­tious data into ads.  Unfor­tu­nately, these socially con­scious themes that put kids first, not prof­its died on the vine.  Con­gress passed the FTC Improve­ments Act of 1980, pre­vent­ing the FTC from issu­ing any kind of industry-wide reg­u­la­tion aimed at ban­ning adver­tis­ing to children.


We won­der what the health of our kids would look like today if Con­gress had made a dif­fer­ent deci­sion 30 years ago?


With this com­pli­cated and often shame­ful his­tory on child mar­ket­ing and adver­tis­ing prac­tices, a parent’s best weapon is always infor­ma­tion and knowl­edge.  We rec­om­mend all par­ents make it a pri­or­ity to stay informed about the food your child con­sumes at school. Be sure that your child’s food comes from fresh sources (not processed) and that it is pre­pared with care. These val­ues are ones we hold dear at Whole­some Tum­mies as we work hard towards chang­ing the state of our country’s health one healthy meal at a time.


Maybe one day Con­gress will choose to join our move­ment, too!


In the News: NYC Soda Ban Rejected


Capri­cious and arbi­trary” where two of the words uttered by Judge Mil­ton Tin­gling last month as he rejected the pro­posed sug­ary bev­er­age reg­u­la­tion in New York City just one day before it was to take effect. Since its orig­i­na­tion in Sep­tem­ber 2012, the so-called ‘Soda Ban” has stirred national con­ver­sa­tion about the state of our health and the way Amer­i­cans see food. Even though oppo­nents reject this notion as a sim­ple mat­ter of free­dom of choice, the bot­tom line is that this issue is about our health, our food sys­tem, and the del­i­cate rela­tion­ship between the two.

With over 40% of Amer­i­can chil­dren over­weight or obese, we are faced with a loom­ing threat to the over­all well being of our nation. Health­care costs are going through the roof as more chil­dren are diag­nosed with Type 2 dia­betes and other dis­eases that were pre­vi­ously only found in adults. And 25% of young Amer­i­cans are deemed “phys­i­cally unfit” for mil­i­tary service.

We must focus on solu­tions to this sys­temic and per­va­sive prob­lem. Per­haps the next pro­posed reg­u­la­tion will explore bet­ter access to fresh and healthy pro­duce or an allo­ca­tion of funds towards pro­grams that cre­ate local Com­mu­nity Sup­ported Agri­cul­ture (CSA), food coops, or even access to healthy food at school? Now that’s a move­ment we could ALL get behind!


Entrepreneur Magazine Features Wholesome Tummies

Look Out Lunch Ladies, Here Comes Whole­some Tummies

By Jason Daley

Deb­bie Blacher and Saman­tha Gotlib were at a party in their Orlando, Fla., neigh­bor­hood when the sub­ject of school lunches came up. Every­one began com­plain­ing about how bad the food was and how embar­rassed they were that they didn’t have the time or skill to make nutri­tious meals for their kids to take to school.

Blacher, a cor­po­rate HR pro­fes­sional, and Gotlib, a ser­ial entre­pre­neur and for­mer fran­chise owner (each preg­nant with her third child at the time), thought they could solve the prob­lem. They put together a busi­ness plan and, in 2007, Whole­some Tum­mies was born.

Back in 2004 when the two first began dis­cussing the idea, “no one was fran­chis­ing a con­cept like this,” Gotlib says. “At that point, no one was even talk­ing about the con­cept of healthy school lunches. There was no Jamie Oliver. We were trail­blaz­ers for sure.”

The idea was sim­ple. Many pri­vate schools were con­tract­ing with fast-food com­pa­nies to serve lunch for their stu­dents, or had cafe­te­rias that were vainly try­ing to bal­ance what kids were will­ing to eat with what was cheap and health­ful. (Pub­lic schools have their own government-mandated lunch programs.)

Blacher and Gotlib fig­ured they could develop nutri­tious, tasty recipes and deliver them to schools. In 2009, they began fran­chis­ing; so far they have seven units in Florida, Geor­gia, Ohio and Nevada and hope to open 10 more this year.

Gotlib turned off the food proces­sor for a minute to feed our curiosity.

Are school lunches really so bad?
Pri­vate schools are much worse than pub­lic schools. There’s a really wide gamut of options, but the most com­mon is to bring in a vari­ety of fast-food providers. They do that because they have no kitchen or they don’t want to deal with run­ning a kitchen. They just out­source it, so they’re serv­ing fried, high-sodium, high-fat restau­rant food every day, with no nutri­tional man­date. They’re out of the reach of gov­ern­ment hands. It’s crazy. We see kids who take Fritos and put nacho cheese on them, and that’s their lunch.

How is your food dif­fer­ent?
We want to meet and exceed {U.S. Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture} guide­lines for public-school lunches, so we have a nutri­tion­ist who cre­ates our menus. Most impor­tant, we try to get rid of addi­tives, trans fats and chem­i­cals, and focus on fresh­ness and food purity. All of our ingre­di­ents are metic­u­lously cho­sen. There’s noth­ing inher­ently wrong with mac­a­roni and cheese when it’s made from scratch with whole-wheat pasta and Asi­ago and Parme­san cheeses. Our menu is made up of kids’ favorites that are secretly healthy.

Are schools eager to sign on?
We found that get­ting schools to par­tic­i­pate has been one of the eas­i­est aspects of our busi­ness. They were tired of hear­ing par­ents complain.

How have par­ents reacted?
Par­ents are so grate­ful. [They] like the con­ve­nience of going online and order­ing their kid’s meal. If we expose kids to [only] pizza, chicken nuggets, mac ‘n’ cheese and soda, that’s what they’ll want. If we give them a wide array of fla­vors and tastes, that’s what they’ll want. Par­ents tell us they can’t believe their kid ate some­thing on our menu, and they thank us for expos­ing them
to new things.

Do fran­chisees have to be culi­nary pros?
We make sure our fran­chisees are able to make the recipes, but they are writ­ten for kitchen pro­fes­sion­als. Their first key hire, and the per­son they have to bring to our train­ing ses­sions in Florida, is a chef. Our fran­chisees are pas­sion­ate, hard­work­ing peo­ple with busi­ness expe­ri­ence who like mar­ket­ing. They receive menus with sup­pli­ers and national pric­ing, and they get a very tight and fast pro­gram with not a lot of wig­gle room. They appre­ci­ate that.

Read more sto­ries about: Fran­chise, Food busi­nesses, Kids, Schools, Women entre­pre­neurs

Like this arti­cle? Get this issue right now on iPad, Nook or Kin­dle Fire.

This arti­cle was orig­i­nally pub­lished in the May 2012 print edi­tion of Entre­pre­neur with the head­line: Lunch Ladies.


New School Meals! The First Lady Welcomes Kids Back to School

What’s new with school meals this year?

The school day just got health­ier! This year, the Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act will be imple­mented in schools across the coun­try to improve the meals that 32 mil­lion chil­dren eat each day. This is ground­break­ing leg­is­la­tion signed by the Pres­i­dent on Decem­ber 13, 2010, to improve the food we serve to our kids in school. This leg­is­la­tion pro­vides assur­ance to par­ents that our kids are get­ting the same kind of bal­ance and nutri­tion that they get at home. Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 is a great win for our nation’s kids – and their parents.

Thanks to new school break­fast and lunch meal stan­dards, schools meals now do a bet­ter job of giv­ing chil­dren the healthy food they need. The new school meals have:

  • More whole grains, fruits, and veg­eta­bles; low-fat milk dairy prod­ucts; and less sodium and fat.
  • The right por­tion. Menus are planned for grades K-5, 6–8 and 9–12 and will demon­strate to your child the right size portions.
  • Addi­tional fund­ing will be made avail­able to schools that meet the new stan­dards. Schools will be reim­bursed an addi­tional 6 cents for each lunch they serve in accor­dance with the new standards.

To con­tinue read­ing this arti­cle or to find out more about the Let’s Move! ini­tia­tive, please click HERE


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