Some of us promise extra time to play video games, while others wield chocolatey desserts as the bargaining chip. No matter what the bribe, however, we’ve all faced that same critical dinnertime conflict: the struggle to get our kids to eat their vegetables. And it was a similar battle that led to the development of Tessemae’s line of salad dressings and condiments.
Mom Teresa Vetter—nicknamed Tessemae—created a lemon-garlic salad dressing to make veggies more appetizing for her three sons. When oldest son, Greg, realized that other people liked the dressing, too (a college friend stole a bottle from his refrigerator), he rounded up his other two brothers and decided to go into business full-time.
Essex, Maryland-based Tessemae’s has now extended far beyond lemon-garlic dressing and includes other dressings like Italian, ranch, Caesar and green goddess. But one of the most significant differentiators between Tessemae’s and the myriad other salad dressings lining grocery store shelves is the fact that all of the products are made without preservatives or thickeners, and they’re also gluten- and dairy-free.
So how is it possible to make a ranch and Caesar dressing without milk or cream? Coconut milk is the secret, and it provides the right amount of creaminess to carry the dressings’ perfect blend of seasonings, but without delivering an overwhelming coconut flavor. Among all of the salad dressing choices, one of our favorites is definitely green goddess—a flavor that is traditionally cream-based, but, in the Tessemae’s kitchen, was turned into a bold vinaigrette.
But Tessemae’s isn’t all salad dressings, either. There’s a sugar free ketchup sweetened with date paste, a barbecue sauce that’s free of the ubiquitous high fructose corn syrup and a honey mustard that consists of only two ingredients—honey and mustard.
At Daily Parent, we believe wholeheartedly in feeding kids foods that are both tasty and healthy, and Tessemae’s definitely fits that bill. It is, in fact, the foundation of the entire brand. And, apparently, we aren’t alone in our excitement over these delicious, all-natural condiments.
Since first breaking into Whole Foods in 2009, Tessemae’s is experiencing incredible growth, thanks largely to the fact that more and more parents are looking to feed their kids wholesome, clean foods. The condiments are now available in Safeway, Costco, Kroger, The Fresh Market, Weis Markets and Wegmans, as well as some regional grocery chains, and 2014 sales were strong enough to pass the $25 million mark.
“We are at a perfect time with the market in general,” Greg, the company’s CEO, said in an interview with the Baltimore Sun. “Everyone is looking for really good, real food. And that’s such a rare thing right now. We’re seeing there’s a shift to people starting to care about what’s in their products.”
We couldn’t agree more.