Founded by passionate parents of kids with food allergies, JJ and Catherine Jaxon, and pediatric allergist, Dr. Gideon Lack, Mission MightyMe and its growing line of products is underpinned by the findings from the landmark 2015 LEAP study, which found that early introduction of peanuts could significantly reduce the development of peanut allergies in children.
According to FARE (Food Allergy Research & Prevention), one in 13 (or two per classroom) children have a food allergy with the most common being allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, milk, and shellfish.
"Based on Dr. Lack's research and the findings of those clinical trials conducted, guidelines around the globe have changed to recommend introducing peanut foods in infancy to prevent food allergies," Mission MightyMe co-founder and co-CEO, Catherine Jaxon, told FoodNavigator-USA.
Despite the "transformative and groundbreaking" findings from the LEAP Study, there is still a huge amount of re-education needed to get parents comfortable with the idea of feeding their infant peanuts, said Catherine Jaxon.
Knowing first-hand the struggle of introducing ground peanuts into a baby's diet (which can be a choking hazard), the brand set out to develop a product that could become part of the regular "snack time rotation" for families. Launched in March 2020, the company's Proactive Peanut Puffs (made from organic peanuts and organic rice) were created to be enjoyed safely by babies (as they dissolve quickly in the mouth) and older kids hungry for a quick snack who love the taste, according to the Jaxons.
"We didn't want to create a nutritional supplement that parents would have to remember to dose and mix into food or a bottle. We wanted something that was easy and delicious," said Catherine Jaxon.
While founded based on strong research and science, Mission MightyMe is conscious not to "medicalize" its products
"We want to present our product in a fun way that doesn't feel medicalized, because at the end of the day, feeding babies food should be fun and enjoyable."
Early allergen introduction: A growing, yet niche, category
Despite the prevalence of food allergies among kids, the practice of early allergen introduction is not as mainstream and accessible as it needs to be, said JJ Jaxon.
"Part of our mission is not just to create these products, but bring them to a mainstream population, which is going to take some time," he said.
Based on feedback gleaned from an expert industry panel in the 2020 FOOD FOR KIDS Trailblazer Challenge, the brand is focused on building its direct-to-consumer business and is not in rush to get to retail, said JJ Jaxon.
"That advice [from industry veteran, Mark Rampolla] is super relevant to us right now as we think strategically about distribution," he said.
The brand will be expanding its line of Proactive Puffs next year, and in the first half of 2021 will launch of tree nut puff, added Catherine Jaxon.
"Our first rounds of R&D have been fantastic. The taste is great, they dissolve quickly, and are packed with a collection of tree nuts to get into babies' diets," she said.
"Parents are drawn to brand and kids are loving the product, so really our focus for 2021 is growing. We're focusing on education and awareness, because there is still a lot of work to do just in terms of spreading the word," she added.
FOOD FOR KIDS: Meet the 2020 trailblazers
From bubbly probiotic water for kids to chickpea butter, ketchup with extra veggies, and goat's milk toddler formula, entrants to our 2020 FOOD FOR KIDS Trailblazers Challenge showcased innovative new products, brands, and routes to market for healthier options for babies and children. But we could only pick three winners …
- Mission MightyMe (peanut puffs for early allergen introduction);
- CHUM Fruit Snacks (clean-label fruit snacks);
- Good Feeding (Go Well) (DTC baby food underpinned by proprietary technology that preserves colors, flavors, textures and nutrition).
- WATCH our video with FOOD FOR KIDS 2020 trailblazer CHUM Fruit Snacks founder Ben Bartley
FOOD FOR KIDS TRAILBLAZERS GALLERY: Entrepreneurs to watch... innovative new brands in kids' food & beverage
We had a record number of entries for this year's FOOD FOR KIDS Trailblazers Challenge, spanning everything from chickpea butter and lentil-based meat crumbles to bubbly probiotic water and veggie-infused ketchup.
Here are some of the innovations that caught our eye. View the GALLERY.