All Zak Normandin wanted was to feed his kids healthy snacks. But trips to the grocery store left him with the realization that most children’s food products, even the organic ones, list sugar as a main ingredient. So the father of three founded Little Duck Organics to provide truly natural food for kids.
Normandin, a former designer and Coast Guard veteran, opened up shop in Boston in January of 2010. After two years of hard work and success, he’s relocating to West Street in Greenpoint, where he and his team of four will continue to develop and expand their Tiny Fruits snack line. “We have an amazing product and it fills a niche not being filled by anyone else in the kids category right now,” he said. “People latch onto our story. It’s a fun brand.”
Tiny Fruits can be found in local shops such as The Garden, Khim’s Millennium Market and Fairway, and nationally in Whole Foods and ShopRite. In the last six months, the snack has made it into 3,000 new grocery stores. Normandin attributes the expansion to his team’s dedication to the preservative-free, gluten-free, and organic product. “We’re all obsessed with growing this business. We all work nonstop. It’s a lifestyle. It’s not just a job. We are really passionately set on being a leader in the category. It’s a culmination of being scrappy, working super hard and not taking no for an answer.”
The company keeps things local, buying blueberries from New Jersey and apples from farms in New York. 1% of the profit from each Tiny Fruits package sold is donated to the farming community through their partnership with 1% for Humanity.
This May, Little Duck Organics will begin operating on West Street, expanding into more stores and building up their new line of oatmeal. Adina Grigore, who works at Sprout Skincare, a Greenpoint-based company, will be sharing space with Normandin and his coworkers. “[The people at] Little Duck Organics are young and cool and have this huge, very successful company, but are still incredibly down to earth and easy to talk to. They like to give back and meet other people.”
In spreading its message about healthy eating and living, Little Duck Organics has gained 6,000 fans on Facebook and over 1,400 followers on Twitter.
Although it’s a nice afterthought, the numbers aren’t the most important thing for Normandin. He’s just happy to know that people are enjoying his products. “It’s about going to other states and seeing our hard work on the shelf,” he said. “The cool thing about food and anything about consumer goods is being able to sell a tangible product. We spend a lot of time and effort building a brand. It’s an awesome feeling knowing you created something good enough for people to buy.”