Julie Bombacino is proof that necessity really is the “mother” of all invention. The northwest Indiana mom set out to find a solution for her young son, AJ, and ended up launching Real Food Blends, a company that is changing the way children and adults with feeding tubes eat. AJ couldn’t tolerate formula when he was put on a feeding tube at six months old. Bombacino started experimenting with pureeing and blending whole food to feed him through his feeding tube. She knew she was onto something when she saw AJ’s dramatic improvement. But cooking, blending, preparing, and packaging took a lot of time in the kitchen; and traveling required carting along a blender and supplies. She needed a solution that was simple, nutritional, and safe. So Julie and her husband, Tony, created one: Real Food Blends. The Bombacinos worked with nutritionists and food scientists to perfect the process, creating a product that is nutritious, shelf-stable, and free of preservatives and corn syrup.
What inspires you?
My main inspiration comes from the Real Food Blends Chief Inspiration Officer, my son AJ. He is almost five, has special needs, and a feeding tube. I never even knew what a feeding tube was before his was placed! I am continually inspired by our customers—I get to talk to people every day who are trying to do better for themselves or their tube-fed loved one, and that inspires me!
What’s the best advice you’ve gotten?
Business-wise, from my old boss: “When the circus comes to town, all the vendors sell more balloons.” I just love this. Deciding to launch Real Food Blends wasn’t easy, as this market has been dominated by a few really, really large companies. But I knew—and my son was living proof—that there was a giant hole in nutrition for people with feeding tubes. I saw an opportunity, so I brought my “balloons” to the table!
To find out more about Real Food Blends, visit realfoodblends.com.