As an emerging category, many of the products in the space have been available primarily through online retailers and direct-to-consumer, and they rely on pediatrician recommendations, but predominate positioning in brick and mortar stores, like Target, will help reach and educate more caregivers about safe and routine allergen feeding, according to SpoonfulONE, which is among the allergen introduction brands launching in Target’s new set this month.
Zoe Glade, vice president and head of marketing at SpoonfulONE, explains Target’s creation of a dedicate set for early allergen introduction products and the inclusion of SpoonfulONE’s mix-ins, puffs and crackers, featuring 16 foods that make up 90% of food allergies, is the first step in a children’s food “revolution.”
“When you walk down the aisles at Target or any grocery store right now, what you see are products devoid of allergens. It is free-from: gluten-free, dairy-free, peanut-free – all the frees. And that’s actually doing the reverse of what we want. So, think of SpoonfulONE as almost the antithesis of that, and really helping brands understand that you have to start to include these foods in your pouches, in your puffs,” Glade said.
She added that her hope is in five to ten years, retailers will feature a broader range of products including puffs with and without peanuts so that children are exposed to different foods and can ultimately eat whatever they want as they age.
Glade explains that that food allergies in children have doubled in the past generation from 1999 to 2018 in part because many caregivers, following outdated guidance, delayed introducing to children potential allergens.
In 2017, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases revamped clinical guidelines to introduce of foods containing peanuts to infants four to six months old on the strength of the groundbreaking Learning Early About Peanut Allergy study.
The same year, SpoonfulONE launched.
Glade explained that SpoonfulONE combines 16 foods that make up 90% of food allergies and come in a range of formats, including a mix-in powder that can be added to food, breast milk or formula, a puff and a cracker “so that over time, your baby’s immune system grows accustomed to these 16 foods as just foods.”
Since launching, SpoonfulONE has worked closely with pediatricians to educate caregivers and sold its products through online retailers and direct-to-consumer, but Glade explains that entering brick and mortar will help the brand further build awareness and make progress on its goal of bringing early allergen introduction to more than 1 million babies by 2030.
“Not every mom wants to purchase this type of product online… some moms like to touch and feel the product, try it out. And so, the reason why Target is the best [place for SpoonfulONE to launch] is that Target really does listen to their consumers, they’re listening to the guidelines and they’ve created this early allergen foods section within the baby food aisle within [select] stores,” which together help build awareness, Glade said.
Glade adds that she hopes that Target is just the first of many brick and mortar retailers that carry SpoonfulONE and prominently display early allergen introduction products to further drive awareness. And as that awareness and demand grows, Glade says, SpoonfulONE will expand its portfolio to further meet caregivers’ needs.