Danone backs Ready, Set, Food’s early allergen introduction system in US$3.5M funding round
04 Jun 2021 ---- Ready, Set, Food has raised US$3.5 million in its latest funding round for its organic early allergen introduction system. The US-based company provides a daily supplement to gradually introduce babies to the top nine allergens in three different stages.
“With one in every twelve babies developing a food allergy each year, the investors’ steadfast support ensures that Ready, Set, Food can accelerate its efforts in the area of early food allergen introduction,” says Daniel Zakowski, CEO and co-founder of Ready, Set, Food.
The round was led by a new investor, Edward-Elmhurst Health, which is an integrated health system. Returning investors included Danone Manifesto Ventures, AF Ventures (formerly AccelFoods) and investor and entrepreneur Mark Cuban.
“As a healthcare provider, we see the need for support and education regarding food allergies as paramount,” notes Mel Cohen, managing director of Edward-Elmhurst Health Venture Capital.
“We are seeing allergies reach their highest levels yet nationwide, especially among children and we see the devastating downstream effects that severe allergies can have on families in our communities,” she adds.
Cohen continues that Edward-Elmhurst Health chose to invest with Ready, Set, Food to support its tangible three-stage system that helps families safely, easily and effectively introduce allergens.
Last month, the company launched its third stage, which targets babies consistently eating solids.
It offers continued exposure to peanut, egg and milk. Every four days, it also introduces another one of the top six allergens – cashew, almond, walnut, sesame, soy and wheat.
Each stage is pre-measured in easy-to-use, mess-free packets featuring organic and natural ingredients without any added sugar or additives. They can be mixed into breast milk, formula or food (depending on the stage) until the baby is regularly eating these foods over an extended period of time.
Support from Johnson & Johnson
The company was also recently chosen as an awardee in Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s Next in Naturals QuickFire Challenge: Children’s Wellness.
The challenge invited innovators to submit potential new forms of ingestible innovations or vehicles of delivery for children’s wellness products that utilize ingredients inspired by nature.
To help advance its research, Ready, Set, Food will now receive a total of US$50,000 in grant funding.
It also gains the opportunity of one year of residency at an available JLABS (Johnson & Johnson’s network of open innovation ecosystems) with the use of a bench, workstation and access to the JLABS global ecosystem, as well as mentorship from the Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies.
Reducing allergy risk
Early introduction to allergenic foods like eggs and peanuts has been found to help prevent food allergies in specific groups of infants.
A study earlier this year found that allergy guidelines encouraging infant peanut consumption may have reduced the risk of infant peanut allergies by up to 16 percent in Australia.
This approach has been embraced by industry players, including Gerber, Nestlé’s infant nutrition subsidiary. Last year, the company unveiled an infant snack line featuring peanut flour to help introduce the allergen.
Meanwhile, Square Baby also offers an early allergen introduction menu featuring all of the top eight allergens.
Edited by Katherine Durrell
This feature is provided by FoodIngredientsFirst’s sister website, NutritionInsight.
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