Today we’d like to introduce you to Stefanie Garcia Turner.
Hi Stefanie, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today.
I am a 2nd generation Mexican American from San Antonio, born at Wilford Hall. Like many residents of the city, I grew up with a strong tie to both my Hispanic heritage and my American roots. Career-wise I spent most of my life in the food industry, working for a major natural foods retailer, 2 celebrity-founded product brands, and as a consultant for start-ups looking to launch their businesses.
Throughout this journey, I have seen pretty much everything, from cricket protein powders to mushroom jerky and everything in between. I realized one day while shopping at my local Latin American market that, although there has been an explosion of natural foods and beverages over the past decade, very few of these products have been made with the Latino consumer in mind. The grocery shelves at these stores are still filled with the same brands that our grandmothers and mothers bought for us, which, in some cases is not a bad thing (Tajin!).
I decided to combine my love for natural foods and my heritage and create TUYYO Foods, bringing the world a new brand with a modern touch that provides foods and beverages made with real ingredients while also giving back to Latino non-profits doing amazing work in their communities across the US. I believe real change can happen at the most local level and it is important to support one another.
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
The road hasn’t necessarily been hard but there have definitely been challenges that have tested my anxiety levels along the way. The first challenge was just going from ideation to creation and committing to a brand that I feel embodies what I want to bring to the world.
The decision to move forward with creating my first line of products, all-natural simple ingredient instant Agua Fresca powder mixes, was driven by both a gut instinct and market data showing that nothing like this existed in the market. There are powder drink mixes available but almost all of them contain overly processed ingredient lists and none of them provide flavor from actual fruit. I figured this is a differentiated product but it has traditional roots that people from Latin American cultures, as well as many other cultures, know about and understand.
Then the next step was to figure out who would bring this branding to life. I narrowed down my research by only focusing on cross-cultural specializing design firms. And low and behold, I found one right in San Antonio! I partnered with Chamoy Creative who were amazing to work with and amazingly talented.
Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know?
TUYYO is seeking to evolve the Latin American food and beverage offerings and provide all-natural and great-tasting options for consumers where there currently are none. We believe customers will appreciate having a new option that enhances their overall well-being and gives them an alternative to the current offerings that, in many cases, contain artificial ingredients. The labels are bilingual, providing a more inclusive experience for the customers. Our company also seeks to give back to Hispanic communities by partnering with community-based non-profits around the US and either donating a portion of our proceeds at the end of the year or by sponsoring events.
Currently, we offer Instant Aguas Frescas mixes in Strawberry, Pineapple, and Mango flavors. They are super refreshing and great for the Texas heat. We also just launched our Instant Cafecito line which is made with 100% Organic and Fair Trade Colombian Coffee. There are 3 varieties- Plain, Natural Caramel Flavor, and Natural Café de Olla flavor. The company has other products in the pipeline and I am excited about what the future holds for the brand.
The products are currently available online through our website and the Aguas Frescas variety pack is on Walmart.com. I am just about to launch into Texas through a distributor called KeHE Distribution so I hope to be in many more brick-and-mortar retail locations soon!
How can people work with you, collaborate with you, or support you?
While the company is still very small, we are about to launch an internship program for college students. If folks are interested they can email firstname.lastname@example.org and mention the internship program. Also, if anyone has requests for the product to be sold near them please email us so we can work on getting into those stores!
- Aguas Frescas Variety Pack $25.99
- Agua Fresca Single $8.99
- Instant Cafecito Variety Pack $39.99
- Instant Cafecito Single $14.99
- Website: https://tuyyofoods.com/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tuyyofoods/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tuyyofoods/
- Other: https://www.tiktok.com/@tuyyofoods
Raf Winterpacht and Blake Bronstad