For families attempting to swap their household favorites with Black-owned products, some items are easier to find than others. Baby food has long been one product without a Black-owned alternative — until now.
Meet the Johnson family, owners of Pic Select Fresh baby food and Goode Foods canned goods. Both brands are run by father and son duo Emile and Andrew Johnson. Pic Select recently went viral on Tik Tok with hundreds of comments expressing gratitude for an alternative to the major baby food brands that have recently come under fire.
Pic Select Fresh’s all-natural baby foods are grown in the central valley of California and do not include any sugar or additives. Shoppers can find the products on Walmart.com, in Jewel Osco stores around Chicago and Chicago WIC food centers.
The company saw a big uptick in sales of its baby food after a congressional investigation found levels of arsenic, lead, and other toxic metals that can harm brain development in many popular baby foods, including organic brands.
Overnight, shoppers began looking for an alternative to long-trusted brands like Gerber, Beech-Nut, and others. The new attention and business is something that Johnson welcomes. He says that while the FDA has yet to outline strict guidelines about toxins in baby food, Pic Select Fresh takes care to ensure that their production line remains safe.
“We don’t want to say anything bad about our competition, but we were not mentioned in that report,” he said.
Emile Johnson left a lucrative corporate career to launch the family’s first food brand, Goode Foods, back in 2003.
“I’ve always wanted to have my own company since I was 12 years old. I spent 25 years in corporate America and I wanted to spend more time with my family. So I started this company because I didn’t want to travel as much,” Johnson said. “The main purpose of our company was to bring good nutrition to our country and I was able to do that and I still made every one of my son’s basketball and football games when he was in high school.”
Staying true to both his mission and his commitment to his family, Goode Foods found its groove, landing on the shelves of many grocery stores in the Chicago area. Then, in 2013, Johnson became the first Black-owned food brand to sell baby food, naming the company Pic Select Fresh as a nod to the fresh produce that goes into each serving.
“All of our baby food is grown in California, from farmers that we know. And we know they’re using the best procedures for harvesting their crops. It’s made out of the same fruits and vegetables that a mother would find in the produce section of the store.”
For a limited time: Take 20% off all canned beans and vegetables at GoodeFoods.com with promo code: We Buy Black