Yumbini: Delicious & Healthy Meals Created by a Food Scientist

Ali Becker

yumbini turmeric curry lentil on a grill with corn on the cob

Certified Food Scientist Jan Matsuno fulfilled a lifelong dream when she launched her dehydrated meals company Yumbini Foods back in March 2022. Armed with 40 years of experience developing thousands of shelf stable food products, Jan merged her industry knowledge with her desire to craft convenient, affordable, delicious meals that are truly healthy. A welcome addition to outdoor provisions offerings, Yumbini serves up delicious dehydrated meals made of wholesome and simple ingredients like beans, lentils, and rice that are 100% plant-based, high in fiber, low in saturated fat, contains 14 - 15g of protein per pouch, and are ready to devour in 6 quick minutes. 

yumbini in a cooking pot in the mountains

Currently available in four tasty flavors: Smoky Chipotle Black Beans and Rice, Curried Turmeric Lentils and Rice, Cowboy BBQ Pinto Beans and Rice, and Mild and Creamy Red Beans and Rice. Yumbini also happens to be light on your wallet and even lighter on your food bag, while still packing a heavy dose of nourishing nutrient-dense calories to help you replenish and recover. This focus on healthy vegan meals that are fast to make, lightweight, and free from the "big 9" allergens, preservatives, MSG, gluten, added sugar, or too much salt, is a breath of fresh air in a world often laden with fake food that claims to be healthy but actually isn't. 

Yumbini packaging

“People will say ‘food is fuel’ for your body, but I think it’s so much more than fuel,” says Jan. “The scientist in me will tell you that the food you eat literally becomes your body and allows it to function.”

Paying attention to the impact of how the food she served at the dinner table impacted the bodies and behaviors of her children, Jan learned a lot about how to leverage the power of healthy food. “I noticed that when I provided them nutritious, hearty food with plenty of vegetables, they were calm and happy,” says Jan. "Homework, clean up, and bedtime, which can be chaotic with kids, were easy. I guess with Yumbini, I am trying to do the same on a larger scale: feeding those healthy vegetable dishes to the whole world!”

yumbini founder Jan with her creations in a grocery store

And this Oakland, California-based woman-owned startup has been able to do just that. From the idea percolating up in 2018, to finalizing formulas in 2019, to leveraging the lockdown to establish the company, running a production trial, and developing the label design, Jan put her whole self behind the brand and brought it to fruition at just the right time. 

Yumbini launched in spring of 2022 at a time when the pandemic had people scouring for shelf stable food, and the outdoor recreationalists boom saw thousands of hungry bellies looking for tasty campfire fare. Yumbini was there to provide. But it wasn't all smooth sailing for Jan's edible creations. “Shortly after launch, it became obvious that I really needed help on the sales side,” admits Jan. So she called in a favor with her husband, Aki, who she met working in the food industry way back when.

Aki of Yumbini with a van of boxes

“Initially, he did not want to be involved at all,” says Jan, "But our skills are very complementary.” So, with a little bit of convincing, Aki joined forces with Jan and put his 40 years of sales experience in the food industry to good use. This dynamic duo is now the literal Mom and Pop "brains behind the beans," doing everything from developing new products, to working on the website, recipes, blogs, guest articles, newsletters, photography, and creating flyers and sales materials, along with a little help from a co-packer in Nor Cal.

yumbini on a tortilla outside with a camping stove in the background

Besides being able to work on something meaningful with her husband in retirement and enjoying the creative outlet that Yumbini provides, the company has become a vehicle for sharing knowledge and information that Jan gleaned from her lifelong career as a food scientist. “I feel like I am able to contribute to society with a good product,” says Jan, “but Yumbini also gives me a platform to help people better understand nutrition, health, and the food industry. I hope that Yumbini can be seen as an example of a responsible food company, making products to improve peoples’ health and lives and being a calm voice in the sea of internet misinformation."

Two humans who are truly using their powers for good, Jan and Aki are living and sharing their food philosophy in the most authentic way. "We aim to leverage the transformational power of food for all, to improve our health, our thinking, our lives and our world,” says Jan. "It's the gift of my career.”

yumbini founder Jan + Aki Matsuno


 Ali Becker is a freelance adventure writer and narrative storyteller who shares compelling conversations about personal transformations, overcoming limitations, wellness education, and adventurous situations. You can follow her rambling adventures on Instagram at @thisisalibecker. 




Backpacking Meals by Yumbini
Meals by Yumbini



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