Voyage MIA interview- Inspiring Conversations with Erica Bethe Levin of Globowl

Voyage MIA interview- Inspiring Conversations with Erica Bethe Levin of Globowl

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Today we’d like to introduce you to Erica Bethe Levin.

Hi Erica Bethe, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today.

I’m Erica Bethe Levin, the founder and CEO of Globowl, a baby and toddler food brand introducing children to cultures from around the world through internationally inspired meals formulated just for kids. Like many new parents, I took a cautious approach to introducing my firstborn to food. I opted instead for fruits and vegetables – all single ingredients, all very one-note. Not surprisingly, he became a picky eater.

Then my daughter arrived soon after we moved from Chicago back to my hometown, Wellington, in Palm Beach County. We refused to make the same mistake twice – we introduced her to every spice and flavor possible (her first meal was coconut shrimp curry). What a difference! She devoured it and is still an adventurous eater.

I looked to see if there was any baby food out there reflective of her palate… and there wasn’t. Given the global pandemic, there was no hope of traveling. So I decided to bring the world to my babies…through food! I want all of our kids to develop a curiosity for the planet, and the people who inhabit it, along with a lifelong love and appreciation of food, adventure, and interconnection.

Globowl is actually my third startup! As the first female founder in 1871 (Chicago’s largest tech hub), I launched CheekyChicago, growing it into Chicago’s number-one online resource for women (pioneering digital publishing before anything was exclusively online). Following Cheeky, I led expansion initiatives for venture-backed start-up Reserve, which sold to Resy in 2018.

For the next five years, I served as the Director of Global Sales for a hospitality consulting company where I broke sales records and guided industry titans like Daniel Boulud and The Four Seasons through their customer experience. I also spent over 15 years as a food writer for local and national publications.

In addition to being mom-CEO, I currently serve on the Executive Board of Northwestern University’s Council of 100, an invitation-only cohort of top-tier graduates selected to mentor female students and young alums. I am a Techstars powered by a JP Morgan graduate, a two-time Chicago Innovation Award nominee, one of Today’s Chicago Women’s Top 100 Women Making a Difference, and the winner of Naturally Chicago’s 2023 pitch slam.

Globowl was also one of nine companies chosen for the Target Takeoff Essentials 2023 cohort. I am also a newly minted Naturally Network mentor for those aspiring to come up in the natural foods and CPG industry.


Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?

As a female founder, access to capital feels to be at an all-time low, despite new funds, splashy headlines, and a seemingly endless amount of grant opportunities that all indicate people care more about this than ever. I believe people do care, but the numbers and statistics speak for themselves.

Obstacles for mom founders also come in abundance. There are underlying stigmas, preconceived notions, and misconceptions that precede us regardless of how competent we are, how much help we have at home, or how quickly our businesses are growing. However, my motto has always been: if you want something done, give it to the busiest woman you know!

Lastly, on an emotional level, there is a lot of guilt that comes with being a mom founder, so much so that it has its own name: working mom guilt. I’ve looked to other inspiring women founders as examples over the years and taken little pages from all of their books. I feel lucky to have my friends, family, and mentors to rely on. It really does take a village– for kids AND for work. I’ve decided to integrate my business into our family life so that my babies feel like they’re a part of it too – it’s not just “mommy’s.” It’s theirs, it’s their father’s and it’s our livelihood. It truly is a family affair!


Appreciate you sharing that. What should we know about Globowl?

Globowl is an internationally inspired baby and toddler food company. The Globowl Difference addresses three major issues important to parents: prevent picky eating (through internationally-inspired flavors and spices), introduce allergens early (scientifically proven to reduce the likelihood of food allergies in children), teach important oral motor skills and avoid texture aversions down the line, and introduce babies to culture through food from their very first bites.

Additionally, parents can feel good about this choice as we are served in recyclable, reusable glass jars and our food is naturally shelf stable for 12 months, making it as convenient as a pouch to take with you on the go. Our recipes like Pad Thai for Tots, Veggie Tikka Masala Yaya’s Medi Bowl, and Baby Spice’s Bean Bowl introduce children to culture through food from their very first bites, ushering in the next generation of less picky and more adventurous eaters.

Not only does Globowl help mitigate food allergies from the get-go (a problem that is 10x less likely to occur in kids outside the US!), but we are proud to be the only all-natural, chef-curated, pediatrician-backed, shelf-stable, and textured (not pureed mush) baby food bringing authentic worldly flavors to the youngest of babies.

The textured element enhances oral motor development given that we are served in sustainable glass jars, encouraging self- and spoon-feeding (vs. drinking purees out of a spouted pouch). We’re taking advantage of babies’ coveted “flavor window,” the time between four and 18 months when we can most easily influence the way a child eats forever. Our jars are nutrient-packed, full meals, as opposed to one-note pouches as snacks.

Globowl’s mission–to spark curiosity about the world through internationally inspired baby and toddler food – is more critical than ever in today’s fractured world. Early exposure to novel flavors and textures not only squashes picky eating. It launches children into a lifetime of eating adventures. Open-mindedness and empathy begin at home, as do our most cherished food memories.

Our future is dependent on our children, and it is our job to ensure that today’s kids grow into concerned, empathetic, and thoughtful citizens. No one is born with a closed mind. Introducing babies to other cultures early will combat divisiveness, conflict, and prejudice down the line. We are not just a food company; Globowl goes beyond the plate, building a better, more welcoming tomorrow. We are proud and excited to set babies up for better eating and more curious, open-minded thinking… all through the power of food.


What sort of changes are you expecting over the next 5-10 years?

First of all, global cuisine is EVERYWHERE, it just hasn’t touched the baby food aisle so we are thrilled to be forging this path, and have already noticed other brands following our lead. In the next 5-10 years, the baby food industry is set to undergo some significant changes. With parents busier than ever, there’ll be a rise in convenient pre-made options. Healthier, more natural, organic choices for little ones will be in high demand, with clean ingredients becoming a priority – parents want fewer additives and preservatives in their kids’ meals.

This trend aligns seamlessly with our commitment to offering preservative-free products. Technology will take a greater role, as it is in every industry. Allergens will be back in foods – something we are proud to already be doing. We are betting on an increased shift in sustainable packaging and a continued quest for diversity and inclusion as our values become reflected in all that we do. Simply put, Globowl is ahead of the curve, blending all the elements that are shaping the future of baby food.


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