Here you will find frequently asked questions and answers. Click a question to reveal (and then hide) the answer. Click to expand all sectionscollapse all sections for easy printing or review.
Most Common Questions
- How do I find out what meals you offer?All currently available products are listed on the website. If you see it listed, it's available!
- How do I order your products?Please visit our Menu Choices pages. When you see something that sounds good, add it to your shopping cart using the 'Add To Cart' buttons. When you're ready, check out as usual.
- How much is shipping?Shipping is included in the cost of the meal case. We ship Federal Express Priority Shipping.
- Where can I purchase Blossom Foods meals?Please use our website to purchase products. You can add any products to your shopping cart and then pay by credit card during the checkout process.
- Do you share my personal information with anyone?No. All of your information is stored securely and is not shared or sold.
- What if i forgot my password?A password reminder can be sent to help you back into the site.
- How do I know what texture of food to buy?If you have any questions about a change in swallowing, contact your physician. He/she will be able to guide you to who will be best to evaluate and recommend a diet. If there is a diagnosed swallowing problem, your doctor may also recommend you to a Speech Pathologist for further evaluation and treatment. Your doctor, along with recommendations from those that have evaluated you, will prescribe the diet most appropriate. As you continue to improve, an upgrade in texture may be appropriate.
- How do I process some of my own food at home into either Ground or Pureed texture?We are working on putting a home help article together for both helpful hints we have found, we too have had our troubles pureeing certain foods, and recipes. We also shop many markets to find food items that are easier than others to puree and grind. Please check back for this link.
- What is the difference between chopped, ground and pureed textures?Pureed foods are processed to a smooth, mashed potato-like consistency. PurÃ©ed foods should keep their shape when heated, not become runny or difficult to maintain a solid, smooth texture (creamy really). If any food does not purÃ©e into a smooth consistency, it may make eating or swallowing more difficult for the consumer. If there is any question to the smoothness or pureed texture, do not consume if on a pureed diet. Ground foods are blended to ground/diced texture or ~1/4-inch pieces. These pieces of food are similar in size to rice. Chopped foods are ~1/2-inch pieces. These pieces of food are similar in size to uncooked small elbow macaroni. We may be more conservative than many other vendors or those that recommend a textured diet. We want our customers to enjoy their meals, and texture, with no worries.
- Can I call you?Yes, we are happy to speak directly to our customers to best address their questions or comments. You will find most of the frequently asked questions right here on our website but understand that at times, digging through a website can be frustrating. Our direct line is 510-893-3321. You can also contact us through our request button on our site. Please remember to provide your best contact phone number and/or email. As we are a USDA kitchen, it is not always possible to be in our office or answer our phones at certain times throughout the day. We do make every attempt to return calls within a 24 hour time frame (we are PDT).
- How long has Blossom Foods been in business?Blossom Foods began in 2006. It took approximately two (2) years to begin sales as we hired a chef, found a USDA kitchen, and began creating our menu items. Since that first order (a local hospital we are proud to say is still a great customer) we have enjoyed double digit growth year after year.
- Where are Blossom Foods meals made?Our main kitchen is located in Oakland,, CA. A beautiful city to be in for the proximity to fresh produce and wonderful creative food minds. We make each of our products in our USDA kitchen allowing us to use a USDA seal for inspection. We make every attempt to source our ingredients locally and recycle any unused food, or refuse possible (another great thing about Oakland, recycling!). We are also looking at a USDA kitchen located on the East Coast as we continue to grow, we know the necessity of expanding our production to make it easier to distribute both to hospitals and institutions, but also directly to consumers.
- Where can I order, buy your products?Currently, our orders direct to consumers is available only on our site. We have approached retailers about the opportunity to carry Blossom Foods line of Puree Meals however, many still are unaware of the large number of adults on a puree diet. If you shop at a particular grocer/outlet, please let them know that carrying Blossom Foods would be an invaluable item to your family and the millions of others currently eating a Puree diet.
- Why Blossom Foods?Because the adults with swallowing difficulties are a passion for all of us here at Blossom Foods. Most of us have worked in healthcare and been involved in diagnosing dysphagia (swallowing difficulties). We know what the perception is of Puree food and we don’t believe it has to be three (3) balls of beige with gravy and unenjoyable. Puree food (ground and soft chopped/mechanical soft too) should be the same color and taste of the food served on a regular menu. We have heard the stories and lived through the questions of “What is this?” and “is this it for the rest of her/his life?” many times before. If we had a hidden camera to show the reactions to the taste of our Puree Menu it would be a YouTube sensation. People are hesitant at first, “I don’t know if I want to be alive if I have to eat Puree food,” to “Oh wow, this is great.” Seriously. Our testimonials are real.
- Why did you start Blossom Foods?Honestly, I had to. As a Speech Pathologist working with adults in health care, a big part of the job required diagnosing and treating dysphagia (swallowing difficulties). I admit that early in my career it was fairly easy to recommend a Puree diet for a patient that had a medical condition that made it difficult for him/her to swallow. Yes, the questions were usually the same, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œwill they ever eat real food again?ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œHow do I make this at home so it tastes good?ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWhere do I buy this so itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s easy for my mom to prepare or the caregiver to prepare?ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œIs this really it for mealtime?ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚Â Many times I, or a colleague, were unable to answer appropriately or to satisfy the family.As my career developed, I too began to look at the meals that were offered to the patient on a pureed diet. Why was the texture so variable, why did the colors typically look the same color of beige, and was gravy always necessary. What I often couldnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t always answer when presenting a puree meal was, ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã…â€œWhat is this?ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã‚ÂI too wanted more solid answers and for this population to continue to enjoy mealtime. An incredibly important aspect in life to have pleasure with a meal or snack. Their livelihood. A soft diet (puree, ground, chopped) often limited the number of choices of what was for dinner, greatly impacted where they could go to get a meal (restaurant, friends, family get together). Why? Why couldnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t this population continue to enjoy meals, even continue to thrive, on a Puree meal. They could and it continues to be my number one goal.
Ordering And Shipping
- Can I get Blossom Foods items shipped to my home?Yes, Blossom Foods is shipped FedEx express, direct to your door! We pack in custom containers with both dry ice and gel packs. The dry ice will completely dissipate during shipping to reduce the risk of injuring the recipient (dry ice can burn skin). Some thawing will occur during shipping and the meals should be returned immediately to the freezer. You will be notified via email to the tracking of your package once it has shipped.
- Can I order directly, over the phone?Yes, you can. Please be prepared with your order, credit card number, and shipping information.
- Do you keep my information for subsequent orders?Yes, we can keep both your credit card information and shipping address in our data base. It is completely secured. We do not keep copies of past orders so you’ll need to have your order ready if you choose to place over the phone.
- Does Blossom Foods offer any kind of guarantee?We think you'll love our meals and stand behind them. If for any reason our customers are not completely satisfied, we will be happy to exchange/replace or refund your money.
- How can I pay for my food?We accept credit card payments, and personal checks.
- How do you pack your products?We pack in custom containers with both dry ice and gel packs. The dry ice will completely dissipate during shipping to reduce the risk of injuring the recipient (dry ice can burn skin). Some thawing will occur during shipping and the meals should be returned immediately to the freezer.
- How much thawing can I expect during shipping?Thawing is dependent on the weather and treatment of package throughout the shipping process. It leaves our below zero freezer temperatures so they are completely frozen upon shipment. We do ship express (2 day) so thawing does occur. You can expect your meals to partially thaw and you will return to freezer immediately upon receipt.
- If I order Tuesday, when can I expect the shipment?We do our best to pack Tuesday orders Wednesday for immediate shipment. If we are unable to package for Wednesdays shipment, it will be shipped the following Monday for a 2 day express delivery.
- Is packaging recyclable?The box is recyclable as is the ice/gel pack. Unfortunately, the space bag is not able to be recycled. The small containers are also able to be placed in recycle containers (please check your disposal company to make sure they take that type of plastic).
- So what is the best day to place an order?Friday through Monday given the shipping days of Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
- What credit cards do you accept?We accept Visa and MasterCard.
- What day will my order be shipped?We ship Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Orders placed Wednesday through Tuesday are shipped beginning Monday. For example, if an order is placed Wednesday the 15th, it would be shipped the following Monday or Tuesday. If an order is placed on a Tuesday, say the 28th, we make every effort to ship it the next Wednesday or the 29th. Our goal is to get meals out within 7 business days.
- Where are Blossom Foods items sold?Currently, Blossom Foods is sold directly to the consumer from our website. Institutional orders and sales can be placed directly with Blossom Foods or with US Foods. We are talking with additional distributors across the country.
- Is EPS considered toxic? Does it contain formaldehyde?The simple chemical makeup of EPS is carbon, hydrogen and oxygen â€“ elements found in wood and other organic materials. EPS foam products do NOT contain formaldehyde.
- Are EPS foam products recyclable?Yes. Indeed, all plastics can be reused. Recycling is a way to reduce the amount of trash that needs disposal and to conserve valuable raw materials. The plastics industry is working actively to develop recycling programs that are both efficient and economical.
- Does EPS foam give off toxic emissions when incinerated?No. EPS foam's chemical makeup consists of carbon and hydrogen. When completely combusted, it gives off water vapor, carbon dioxide and trace levels of ash â€“ the same as paper.
- Is EPS Biodegradable?Although EPS foam does not biodegrade, it is benign to the environment and provides a stable fill material similar to earth, rock or concrete. This allows for safe landfill reclamation for parks, schools, ball fields, golf courses and other public or greenbelt utilization. Our goal should be to limit materials from getting to the landfill through source reduction, aggressive recycling and other environmentally sound waste-management programs.
- Is molded expanded polystyrene (EPS) the same as molded extruded polystyrene (XPS)?No. Extruded polystyrene (often in colors such as pink, blue or green) uses a different blowing agent and a different manufacturing process. White molded EPS, unlike extruded, is available in many different densities and thicknesses. EPS insulation systems dramatically reduce energy consumption and its resultant pollution.
- What are the benefits of EPS thermal insulation and foam packaging products?EPS foam products â€“ whether used for insulation or packaging â€“ are lightweight, versatile, sanitary, energy efficient and most of all cost effective. The manufacture of EPS foam uses less energy than that used in the manufacture of paper-based alternatives. According to The Midwest Research Institute study on special packaging applications, the total energy requirements to make plastic containers (including both processing and materials energy) were lower than or equal to the energy consumed to make competing materials.
- Are your meals molded?No. Molding meals requires the use of starch to maintain the shape of the mold. Our patients understand they are on a pureed diet and although molding puree corn into the shape of a corn cob, at the end of the day it is about the taste and nutrition.
- Besides puree, what other textures do you offer?We provide three textures: Puree, Ground and Soft Chop/Mechanical Soft. Directly to the consumer we currently only offer Puree as many of our customers are able to grind and chop their loved ones meals. To the Institutions and Hospitals we offer all three textures in a variety of packaging styles. (see institutions below)
- Do you have regular customers and what do they do?Yes, we have many regular, greatly valued customers who order from us on a weekly, bi-weekly and monthly basis. They learn through trial how much their loved one is able to eat, their preferences of menu items, and the ease of preparation. Our regular customers comment on the continued independence of their loved one in making meal choices, the lack of mess and guess work in preparing the meal and that this allows them to spend more time doing what they enjoy doing.
- Do you offer complete meals?To healthcare facilities we offer a two (2) and three (3) compartment meal. At this time, we do not offer as a shipping option as we have not had great success with keeping the meals frozen upon shipping. We are working on this and hope to have these meals ready to ship in the future.
- Do you offer meal plans?No, we prefer to let our customers choose the items much like you would at the grocery store. Many of our customers also like to “try” puree items they may not have considered in the past. A favorite, Chicken Enchilada. With so many choices, it’s nice to pick “What’s for dinner?”
- Do you use preservatives or fillers?No. We do not add any fillers and we do not use preservatives. We also do not add coloring to our meals.
- Do your products need to be frozen or refrigerated?Yes, our products need to be frozen. If there is unused portions to your meals, you may place covered in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, much like any other frozen food item that is a left over.
- Does making foods softer impact the nutritional value at all?No…the texture of an item (pureed, ground, or chopped) does not impact its nutritional value. As we do not use fillers or substitutes, the same nutritional value for a 4.5 ounce serving of beef would be the same as if you made it in your own home. As our portions are consistent, controlled portions, it is easy to calculate calories and nutritional intake.
- How do I cook Blossom Foods?After removing the saran seal, each item is to be cooked in the microwave or conventional oven to a recommended internal temperature of 165 degrees. As microwave wattage varies, our studies show in a 1000 watt microwave, 2 1/2 minutes to 4 minutes is the recommended time to cook. Stir the product throughout the cook cycle to assure even heating. Oven temperature at 350* reaching a minimum temperature of 165*, 14-16 minutes, is another option.
- How often do you change your menu items?We add and subtract menu items several times a year. Our biggest changes occur in the springtime with the arrival of seasonal fruits and vegetables. It’s such a happy time in our kitchen when we see the asparagus and berries come in to the kitchen. Preparing the Lemon Mousse for Easter with Myers Lemon juice has been a treat for the staff at lunchtime. Our strawberries just seem to roll in starting in March. And of course in the fall we remove many of the seasonal selections and add more of the hardy meals such as stews and root vegetables.
- What is the difference between baby food and Blossom Foods pureed meals?Baby food is designed obviously for babies. Nutritionally different, baby food is often a wetter texture that may not be what you have been prescribed. Flavor and variety may also be limited. Portion size is often 2-3 ounces for baby food, Blossom Foods will be 3-3.5 ounce servings for side items and 4-4.5 ounces for entree size. We provide an adult menu with meals that are familiar. Baby food is referred to as bland, using spices to enhance flavors keeps mealtime familiar.
- What is the difference between puree, ground, or chop texture?There are many opinions and written information as to what exactly each consistency is. Many hospitals and health care professional dealing with textured diets have varying thoughts on the textures. Some healthcare providers and hospitals have six (6) levels of a textured diet and some have as few as three(3.) At Blossom Foods, our pureed foods are processed to a smooth, mashed potato-like consistency. Puréed foods should keep their shape when heated, not become runny or difficult to maintain a solid, smooth texture (creamy really). If any food does not purée into a smooth consistency, it may make eating or swallowing more difficult for the consumer. If there is any question to the smoothness or pureed texture, do not consume if on a pureed diet. Ground foods are blended to ground/diced texture or ~1/4-inch pieces. These pieces of food are similar in size to rice. Chopped foods are ~1/2-inch pieces. These pieces of food are similar in size to uncooked small elbow macaroni. We may be more conservative than many other vendors or those that recommend a textured diet. We want our customers to enjoy their meals, and texture, with no worries.
- What makes Blossom Foods products special?We source local, fresh products as often as we can. We are fortunate to be located in an area of San Francisco that is home to the Produce Market, and within driving distance to some of the greatest farms in California (think Central California). Each of our menu items was created from a recipe specific to Blossom Foods using no fillers, added colors or preservatives. Each item is cooked, and prepared in a commercial chopper to obtain the appropriate puree, ground or chopped texture. It is then immediately frozen and ready to ship.
- Anything else I should know?Our entire team at Blossom Foods is committed to preparing our puree, ground and chopped meals for your continued enjoyment at mealtime. Our primary goal has always been to keep the pleasure in mealtime regardless of the texture. Do not hesitate to contact us with concerns, general questions, or information you may have regarding swallowing, food preferences, etc.
- Are Blossom Foods items only for people with swallowing disorders?No, Blossom Foods can be for anyone who likes to eat a softer diet or who fatigues easily during mealtime. Many of our customers also have dental issues that soft food becomes a great help at mealtime. We also have customers that have arm/hand weakness or inability to coordinate their movements. There are many reasons one eats a soft diet.
- Are there any clinical tests to diagnose dysphagia?Yes. The gold standard for the assessment and diagnosis of dysphagia is the modified barium swallow in which a patient is given small amounts of thin liquids, and/or barium, and/or a small piece of a cookie or cracker. The assessment includes x-ray and video of the swallowing process to determine which stage of swallowing is involved. A “bedside evaluation or visually observing a patient eating/drinking a variety of liquids and textures can also be done to observe where the difficulties may be.
- Can dysphagia be dangerous?Yes. Aspiration (food or liquid entering the lungs), malnutrition and can also affect the ability to take many of their prescribed medications.
- How do I know if I have a real swallowing disorder?Your physician will begin the diagnostic process to see if you have a swallowing disorder and recommend the next steps.
- How many people have dysphagia or swallowing problems?The numbers of dysphagia ranges between 7% and 35% of the population; most quote about 20%. This number includes all adults, it is accepted that older adults and people with acid reflux are more commonly affected. More importantly, many believe that only half of those with symptoms of dysphagia discuss them with their physician.
- What are some of the signs or symptoms of dysphagia or a swallowing disorderSome observable signs indicating potential problems include the following: coughing while eating or drinking; choking on food, fluid, or medication; a gurgly sounding voice, especially after eating or drinking; difficulty swallowing food or fluid; and the pocketing of food on one side of the mouth. Weight loss for no other apparent reason can be another key sign that swallowing has become an issue.
- What are some questions my Physician should ask to determine if there is a swallowing problem?Below may be a few of the questions your physician may ask. Do you often cough or choke after eating or drinking? Does it sometimes feel as though food is going down the “wrong way”? Do you often feel that food is stuck in your throat? How long does it take you to eat a meal? Is eating sometimes less enjoyable than it had been previously? Have you recently experienced weight loss without trying to lose weight?
- What are some resources for individuals with swallowing disorders?Your physician can provide you with names and information to educate yourself to dysphagia. With the internet, a search of dysphagia will also lead you to many resources that will help you learn more about this condition.
- What are treatment options?Treatment for dysphagia includes the involvement of both a speech language therapist and a registered dietitian. “Health professionals, particularly speech therapists, work with patients to improve the safety of their swallow with compensatory techniques, strengthening exercises, electrical stimulation, adaptive devices, and more including catering to patients’ food preferences and making mealtime as relaxing as possible. The problem can be progressive and soft or puréed foods—and in severe cases tube feeding—may be necessary permanently. A speech therapist typically identifies the specific problem and makes recommendations that may include changes in positioning or posture when eating or drinking, exercises to strengthen or improve swallowing muscles, techniques to aid in swallowing more safely, or changes in consistency of foods (such as puréeing or mashing them) and the possibility of adding thickeners to fluids to improve ease of swallowing.
- What causes dysphagia?From the Medical Website: Normally, the muscles in your throat and esophagus squeeze, or contract, to move food and liquids from your mouth to your stomach without problems. Sometimes, though, food and liquids have trouble getting to your stomach. There are two types of problems that can make it hard for food and liquids to travel down your esophagus: The muscles and nerves that help move food through the throat and esophagus are not working right. This can happen if you have: Had a stroke or a brain or spinal cord injury. Certain problems with your nervous system, such as post-polio syndrome, multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, or Parkinson's disease. An immune system problem that causes swelling (orinflammation) and weakness, such as polymyositis ordermatomyositis. Esophageal spasm. This means that the muscles of the esophagus suddenly squeeze. Sometimes this can prevent food from reaching the stomach. Scleroderma. In this condition, tissues of the esophagus become hard and narrow. Scleroderma can also make the lower esophageal muscle weak, which may cause food and stomach acid to come back up into your throat and mouth. Something is blocking your throat or esophagus. This may happen if you have: Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). When stomach acid backs up regularly into your esophagus, it can cause ulcers in the esophagus, which can then cause scars to form. These scars can make your esophagus narrower. Esophagitis. This is inflammation of the esophagus. This can be caused by different problems, such as GERD or having an infection or getting a pill stuck in the esophagus. It can also be caused by anallergic reaction to food or things in the air. Diverticula. These are small sacs in the walls of the esophagus or the throat. Esophageal tumors. These growths in the esophagus may becancerous or not cancerous. Masses outside the esophagus, such as lymph nodes, tumors, orbone spurs on the vertebrae that press on your esophagus. A dry mouth can make dysphagia worse. This is because you may not have enough saliva to help move food out of your mouth and through your esophagus. A dry mouth can be caused by medicines or another health problem.
- What is dysphagia?Dysphagia is the medical term for difficulty swallowing . Although dysphagia can happen to anyone, it is most common in older adults, babies, and people who have problems of the brain or nervous system. There are many different problems that can prevent the throat or esophagus from working properly. Some of these are minor, and others are more serious. If you have a hard time swallowing once or twice, you probably do not have a medical problem. But if you have trouble swallowing on a regular basis, you may have a more serious problem that needs treatment. Please contact your physician.