Meet Emily and Lyla Allen, aka The Kitchen Twins, two ambitious young ladies on mission to prove that kids can be foodies, develop a love of cooking, and eat healthy, too.
They started blogging about food and healthy living two years ago when they were 9 years old. Then they started doing cooking demonstrations at grocery stores, schools and Boys & Girls clubs throughout the region.
They are so passionate about teaching healthy living that they launched a healthy food product, Make Your Own Kale Chips kit, which is available at over 500 grocery stores throughout the region. Not too shabby for a bunch of 11-year-olds!
Philly Grub was intrigued by their story and they were kind enough to answer our questions so that we can share their story of what inspired them to start their blog and how they balance being 11-year-olds with “work.”
Where are the Kitchen Twins based?
We are based in Lawrenceville, New Jersey.
When did you launch the Kale Chip kit?
We launched our Kitchen Twins Make Your Own Kale Chip kit in November 2014. We did a little test at a local grocery store. When they launched, we took them to the local grocer and handed out samples. All of our friends came to support us. Everyone seemed to love the chips and how fun they are to make.
Why kale chips? Don’t kids hate greens? 🙂
Because we ourselves love kale chips and cooking! So we combined the two – you make them through our kit. We wanted to get families in the kitchen, so we thought that a kit to make fresh kale chips would be fun, easy and delicious. Maybe kids hate greens normally, but when they try our fresh Kale Chips, that THEY made, they will love them and feel good that they made the chips themselves. And adults love them too! Our kits make it super easy to make and to clean up after. They are a good price because we would rather have people feel good about buying these, versus other snacks like potato chips. If they were too expensive then maybe people wouldn’t think about buying them and they would buy a cheaper, less healthy food.
What were the challenges of developing the product and bringing it to market?
The biggest challenge of bringing the product to market was finding the right co-packers who would work with us. Our parents know how to do that and they did a lot of research. They found a really great one in New Jersey. Before we even did that though, we tested things a million times at home and with people who give us feedback on the flavors and bag design. A challenge though is explaining to people how our product is different. We can do this when we do a sampling demo but we aren’t always able to be there in person. So we would like to take this opportunity to share the difference! Instead of buying a big bunch of kale that you have to wash, de-stem and cut, our kit makes it easier and faster to make kale chips. Ours are also different than the big bag of kale you can buy in grocery stores because they de-stemmed and chip-sized. Our kits come with the seasoning and you use the bag it comes in to coat the leaves with the oil. We like to say it’s like shake and bake for kale chips! Very simple and $3.99 a bag.
Do you plan on developing and launching any other food products in the future?
Yes, we plan on coming out with more kale chip flavors and other Kitchen Twins food products and kitchen accessories. We already have lots of ideas.
How do they juggle being young entrepreneurs in the food business & just being kids going to school, hanging out with friends, etc?
It doesn’t feel like a juggle even though we guess it sounds that way. Our parents are a big part of our lives and they’ve always been there for us and we really appreciate that. Our family is all in the business now together and everyone loves to cook, talk food and eat so that part makes it easy. This has always been a part of our lives but now we also have our own Kitchen Twins product so it’s even more fun to visit grocery stores now!
What advice would you give to other youngsters looking to eat healthy?
Try to make a lot of your own foods. That way you’ll probably like it more because you made it. Also, try lots of new things and you may not like everything and that’s ok. We didn’t like salad for a long time, even though we eat healthy, but now we love salad. And a salad doesn’t always have to be lettuce it can be lots of your favorite vegetables chopped up with your favorite dressing and we love to add pumpkin or sunflower seeds. On our blog we have a lot of recipes that are easy to make and we use different types of ingredients that they might love. They are healthy too!
Where do you see yourselves in 10 years?
We see ourselves just graduating college with great expansion in our company. Before then, we hope to have our own show and cookbooks! And we hope to do some cooking in school too. We actually have a garden and chickens at our school with a Food and Garden club that lets us cook and graze from the garden. If you look at our blog we have a post on our school garden and chickens!
Good luck Emily and Lyla!
Follow The Kitchen Twins on Twitter: https://twitter.com/KitchenTwins
Like The Kitchen Twins on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KitchenTwins/
Watch The Kitchen Twins on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCqJq2UOa3IKcwgD6OFsc68w
Follow The Kitchen Twins on Instagram: https://instagram.com/kitchentwins/
The Doyenne of Dining in Philadelphia and South Jersey.