Shake Your Groovies Thang

Turn-Up The Heat plant-based snack made of sorghum, flavored with beets and paprika -- and made for kids.
Turn-Up The Heat plant-based snack made of sorghum, flavored with beets and paprika — and made for kids.

Mom and entrepreneur, Saskia Sorrosa, may have not enticed any sharks to bite when she appeared on TV’s “Shark Tank” in 2019.

But she’s sure shown them now, raising more than $4 million and getting her Fresh Bellies into 4,000 stores nationwide.

Her New York company makes plant-based, allergen-friendly snack foods, especially geared to toddlers, pre-schoolers, and beyond.

The daughter of a banana farmer and agricultural entrepreneur in Ecuador, she wanted to create crunchy snacks with the type of bold flavors she grew up on.

Fresh Bellies' line of plant-based, gluten-free snacks.
Fresh Bellies’ line of plant-based, gluten-free snacks.

Her Groovies are made from sorghum, sunflower oil, and just a handful of other flavoring ingredients such as paprika, onion powder, or dried rosemary. They are vegan, gluten-free, and have no artificial flavors. The sodium count weighs in at 110 to 125mg per 1-ounce serving.

I had a chance to try samples recently. I’m not going to lie — the Groovies definitely look a lot like packing peanuts in shape and appearance. Their texture is airy and crisp like old-school rice crackers. Powdered flavoring clings to them like with cheese popcorn.

The Rosemary’s Carrot is a little sweet, with the rosemary bringing a savory, herby note. The Turn-Up The Beet is smoky-sweet like barbecued potato chips.

The Shroomtastic is reminiscent of cream of mushroom soup in taste, but with the earthy mushroom note much more prominent.

Fresh Bellies' cardamom-scented freeze-dried apples.
Fresh Bellies’ cardamom-scented freeze-dried apples.

Fresh Bellies also makes a line called Palates in Training, especially for those 12 months and older. They’re designed to start tots early in developing their palate. The Keep Calm & Cardamom is a winner with freeze-dried apple slices that taste intensely of the fruit, which get flavored with the sweet warmth of cardamom. The spice is a natural with apples and makes me think of of Swedish buns. The cardamom announces itself quite brightly, so it would be interesting to see how especially picky tots take to it.

Find Fresh Bellies ($3.19 for a .75-ounce bag) at Target, Whole Foods, Walmart, and Sprouts.

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