Rational Foods founders Sean Daly and Jon Thompson have been friends for over 20 years, a relationship that began in their freshman year of high school and grew throughout adulthood.
Sean, a nationally recognized chef, is a culinary school graduate who perfected his skills in some of the finest restaurants in the Charleston and Cincinnati areas. As a young man, he opened his own restaurant, HUGO, which was a delicious success for six years. Eventually he became director of culinary innovation at a 700 mm CPG company, bringing his culinary mastery to the business and manufacturing world.
Jon is a general and bariatric surgeon at the University of Cincinnati Health and Weight Loss Center, where he completed three fellowships. He is also director of The Thompson Center at the University of Cincinnati Research Institute and serves as Chief Medical Officer and Chairman at Standard Bariatrics, Inc. As a young man, he invented a bariatric tool that is revolutionizing the Laparoscopic Sleeve Gastrectomy, a bariatric surgical procedure.
Both entrepreneurs at heart, they always dreamed of starting a business together. As young men, eager to collaborate on something, they wondered, “How can we combine surgery and food?” Although they didn’t know it at the time, the tiny seed of Rational Foods was born in that question. It would take a decade to grow, but when the idea finally took shape, something beautiful would bloom.
A few years ago, Jon went to Sean’s house, where Sean was finishing up making butternut squash soup and packaging it up in small containers for the week. Jon looked at the containers of soup, the very kind he could remember eating at HUGO, and said, “My patients could really use this.” Sean looked confused, “They could use soup?”
Jon went on to explain that bariatric patients, after undergoing surgery, must adhere to a very strict eating program that includes nutritional components that are extremely important. It entails phasing in solid food very slowly, initially going from liquids to soft foods. Most of his patients were relegated to protein shakes and glorified granola bars. Most of what was available were more like treats than meals. Looking at the savory, butternut squash soup, filled with ginger and pear, he couldn’t help getting excited about the possibility of offering this type of real, wholesome food to his patients.
As Jon talked, Sean’s wheels started turning. They hashed out the idea: form a company that would offer a variety of delicious items for people who were in recovery from bariatric surgery or undergoing supervised weight loss care; create products that would be real food, made with organic ingredients, nutritionally sound, and portable; make it so tasty and effective, that it would go beyond the recovery phase and be an integral part of a healthy life. They would help people make good, wholesome choices. They would help people eat rationally.
Rational Foods was born, and for the next year, Sean and Jon set out on their mission to bring it to life. With Jon’s deep knowledge of bariatric surgery and the obesity community and Sean’s keen understanding of food, nutrition, and manufacturing, they jumped right in. Documenting tremendous amounts of research, collecting data from dietitians and nutritionists, and conferring with a wide variety of bariatric surgeons, they confirmed that there was a desperate need for Rational Foods and formulated a specific plan.
Armed with the knowledge that this product would need to have 20 grams of protein, be about 4 ounces, 160 calories, and packed with enough specific nutrients to qualify as a meal replacement, they set out to create it. They carefully engineered their patent-pending formula, found a top manufacturer, and brought their first product line to life: Achieve®.
Achieve® is made with organic ingredients and offers a delicious, nourishing, real food option made with fruits and vegetables in the convenience of a pouch. It offers high protein and the important nutrients that are so crucial. It can be incorporated into the soft food phase of recovery and can play an essential part in a healthy lifestyle. Furthermore, it encourages patients to make smarter food choices, as Achieve® better satiates a person’s appetite and encourages them to crave real food vs. sugary flavors.
By creating Rational Foods, Sean and Jon are revolutionizing the weight loss community by bringing real, whole foods to a marketplace that is saturated with sugary tasting snacks, food-like meals, and chalky protein shakes. It’s time to go beyond the protein shake. It’s time to offer bariatric patients convenience foods that are also real food. It’s time to think rationally and Achieve® … for life.