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With Goal of Making Your Kids Eat Their Veggies, NKY Entrepreneurs Freshen Up Brand

A group of Northern Kentucky University students won several competitions in the past year for a food product they developed that makes it easier for parents to get their kids to eat vegetables.

The group’s product was called Veggie Magic, but they have rebranded to Vegy Vida with new labeling and taglines.

“We were Veggie Magic which, to be honest, we were not allowed to use that name. So we came up with the name Vegy Vida and developed the tag line 'Liven Up Veggies', and really, the new look is meant just to appeal to parents a little more when before we were really geared towards children,” said Jared Young, one of three co-founders of the product. “We wanted the parents to be comfortable giving it to their children. The new look is geared to get the parents’ attention, and the new look is very clean. So hopefully just from our packaging it’s clear that we are all natural and we are a truly healthy product that parents can feel comfortable giving to their children.”

The product itself is an all-natural vegetable dip that has an all-natural bitter blocking agent that blocks bitter taste receptors so that kids will be more agreeable to eating vegetables.

“We found that children have three times as many bitter taste receptors than adults do so when they eat vegetables it’s three times more bitter, which is the primary reason children don’t like vegetables. Once we developed the bitter blocking agent, we made the bitterness reduced for children or adults and makes them taste like their favorite foods. Our research showed that children were 93 percent more likely to eat vegetables if you pair it with a food that they’re familiar with, so we made sure to create flavors that were familiar to children like mac and cheese, bacon, pepperoni pizza, garlic bread, taco and ranch.  All of them are non-GMO and low fat,” Young said. 

The goal of the new look and label is to get Vegy Vida on the shelves at grocery stores.

“We did a complete rebranding from where we were before and then we’re about two months out from being in stores. We’re trying to get our name out there and see what people think of us before we launch on shelves.”

After winning the entrepreneur competitions, the Vegy Vida team had the chance to speak with real investors on tips and strategies to make their product even more attractive.  Not only that, but they also won a cash prize that went toward further development of their product.

“We were fortunate to have won several competitions through academics and that process was amazing,” Young said.  “We got feedback from real investors on their thoughts which helped us really develop our business model and business plan of how to be effective and get to shelves. That feedback alone was most valuable, but we also of course won some grant money which has helped us get to the KickStarter where we are today by having a completely developed product, new branding, new bottles, new labels, so that money thus far has gotten us to that point. The money also gave us intellectual property protection so everything we have now is trademarked.”

Now the group is asking for KickStarter investments from interested consumers which will give those people the chance to try Vegy Vida for themselves. Right now, donations are earmarked for $30 which helps not only the further development of the product, but also helps cover the high cost of shipping a refrigerated item that requires ice packs.

While developing a financially successful product to consumers, the Vegy Vida group is also passionate about increasingly healthy lifestyles for both kids and adults.

“The true reason we’re launching this product is to make the world healthier place.  If we can even play a small part in getting children and adults to eat more vegetables in general, and just live healthier lifestyles with no money at all, then our mission has been accomplished. That’s really what we’re trying to do.”

Written by Bryan Burke, associate editor