If you’ve spent any time around young children in recent years, you’ve likely noticed the prevalence of “puffs” as a handy and convenient snack for infants and toddlers. Before 2015, many puffed snacks were free of the top eight allergens.
In 2015, the groundbreaking LEAP (Learning Early About Peanut) study showed feeding peanut foods to infants reduced their likelihood of developing peanut allergy by 86 percent. While a change in national feeding guidelines marked a turning point for tackling peanut allergy, it also exposed a colossal gap in the market for products that could help make early peanut introduction for infants easy for parents.
Mission MightyMe co-founders J.J. and Catherine Jaxon are on a mission to help raise up a generation of kids that are free from the burden of food allergies. And they’re doing it with the launch of a peanut puff that makes it easy and “normal” to feed peanuts and other allergenic foods to infants.
We spoke with Catherine Jaxon to find out more about Mission MightyMe.
NPB: What motivated you to begin Mission MightyMe?
Jaxon: Our oldest daughter is allergic to most nuts. When she was born, the common medical guidance was to avoid feeding babies nuts and other common food allergens in infancy. When she had her first walnut at age 3, she had a violent reaction and our lives forever changed. Food allergies weren't even on our radar, but we've learned a lot about them since that day–including that nut allergies in children have tripled in the two decades since avoiding nuts became the norm for babies! Our third child was born in 2015, the same year that the LEAP Study by Dr. Gideon Lack was published. LEAP was a game changer. We were determined to try early introduction with our third child but found it difficult because the baby food industry is peanut and allergen-free. So, my husband JJ and I partnered with Dr. Lack to change that and together we're creating a line of foods that makes it easy and delicious to include peanuts and other common food allergens, in babies’ diets, early and often.
NPB: What differentiates this product from other peanut snack puffs on the market?
Jaxon: Most of the peanut puffs on the market were developed as an adult snack. We developed our puffs specifically for babies and kids. Mission MightyMe is a small puff shaped like a star–just the right size for little mouths and little hands with developing pincher grasps.
They are more than 50 percent peanut, but still dissolve quickly for babies and taste delicious for big kids too. We use simple, organic ingredients that parents can feel good about giving their little ones. We don’t use any oils other than peanut, and we use organic rice flour rather than corn so it’s gentle on babies’ tummies. There is also zero added sugar and very little salt.
We developed MightyMe Peanut Puffs in accordance with Dr. Lack’s LEAP Study. With 7 grams of peanut protein per pouch, just one pouch per week easily meets the level of peanut protein consumed by babies in the study and as recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics.
We created a delicious snack that would make peanut consumption easy and enjoyable for babies and parents without medicalizing or complicating the process of just feeding children food. We are also launching a peanut and tree nut puff, which will be the first of its kind to market.
NPB: What were some of the challenges in bringing this product to market?
Jaxon: There have been lots of challenges! We are disrupting the baby food industry, so we knew it wouldn’t be easy. Education and awareness of the new research and guidelines is a challenge because for 20 years parents have been told to avoid peanuts for babies. Manufacturing has been a big challenge because many facilities in the United States are peanut-free. Fortunately, we have found fantastic partners in manufacturing and marketing who believe in our mission.
NPB: How are you marketing Mission MightyMe, especially as you seek to establish it as a trusted product for new parents?
Jaxon: I think the opportunities for parents to embrace this product are huge. Four million babies are born in the U.S. every year and every one of those moms and dads needs to know that early introduction can help protect their baby from developing a peanut allergy. I think parents are hearing that message now, but there aren't a ton of options out there. We have a real opportunity to both educate parents and offer a simple solution. We also have the top expert in the field guiding the development of all our products, which is an important trust factor.
NPB: How would you define success for Mission Mighty Me five years from now?
Jaxon: Our goal is to help raise a generation of kids that are free from the burden of food allergies. We now know that peanut allergy prevention is possible, but to move the needle it takes education and products that make it easy. If in five years, we see food allergy rates come down, we will know we're on the right path. Also, we’re giving a portion of proceeds back to food allergy research and awareness because we believe so firmly in the mission.
Order Mission MightyMe organic peanut puffs here.