Where Is Ready, Set, Food! From Shark Tank Today?

While the name might sound like a title from a children's book, Ready, Set, Food! educates and assists parents as they navigate the complicated world of food allergies. A child's first year can be full of excitement and milestones, but the possibilities of negotiating food allergies and other food limitations can leave people feeling like they're walking a minefield. Through its scientifically developed program, the gradual introduction of common food allergens hopes to make that a child's flavorful eating journey a little less cumbersome. Ready, Set, Food! aims to aid in this journey, and the company is still in business today.

During the brand's "Shark Tank" introduction, the founders presented a simple concept: Food allergies are developed over time. Through a proprietary powdered ingredient, parents can introduce gradually allergen ingredients, like peanut, eggs, and milk, through formula and breast milk.

The idea is to give parents a simple, easy-to-follow method that takes the fear out of food allergy introduction. Ingredients like peanuts, eggs, and milk are slowly introduced into the child's diet. With data backed by scientific research, personal testimonials, and practical implementation, the company sought to provide a reasonable method to reduce allergen risks. The company baited the Sharks with a multi-faceted concept with wide-reaching impact.

What happened to Ready, Set, Food! on Shark Tank?

Ready, Set, Food! appeared on "Shark Tank" Season 11, Episode 12. During the episode, the brand's core team, Daniel Zakowski, Dr. Andrew Leitner, and Dr. Katie Marks-Cogan, presented their concept to the Sharks. While Kevin O'Leary and Lori Greiner offered proposals, it was Mark Cuban who captured the trio's attention. After some back and forth, the Ready, Set, Food! Team accepted Cuban's offer of $350,000 for 10% equity, which was contingent on donating the product to low-income families. The idea showcases the impact that food allergens have across social-economic levels.

During a July 2020 conversation with Fox Business, Cuban said, "Since my daughter has a severe peanut allergy, I know firsthand how life-changing food allergies can be." That personal connection seemed to influence his desire to fund Ready, Set, Food! The company found a methodology to make the process simple, approachable, and understandable for the average parent. When a brand can find a way to address parental concerns in a manageable way, its success seems inevitable and the "Shark Tank" exposure gave it another platform to leverage. 

The Cuban investment joined $2.75 million raised up to that point. Combined with the support of hundreds of pediatricians and allergists backing the product, the brand grew sales after its initial appearance. Currently, the company offers its four-step introduction plan, oatmeal, bars, snacks and more.

What sparked the Ready, Set, Food! concept?

When a concept stems from a personal struggle, the desire to help, educate, and potentially solve the problem is more tangible. With Ready, Set, Food!, founders Daniel Zakowski and Dr. Andrew Leitner had a direct connection to the impact food allergies have on children. The concept was developed after Dr. Leitner's son had an allergic reaction to peanut butter. After additional testing, it was determined he was also allergic to dairy and eggs, some of the most common food allergens.

Ready, Set, Food! reported that "cost of food allergies to American families annually is $25 billion." While that number seems staggering, it is a statement that reinforces the severity of the food and health issue. Although the number continues to fluctuate, more than 32 million people suffer from a food allergy. Whether or not the public health crisis is front of mind, the reality is that a program, like this one, seeks to address the concern in a manageable way.

From the founders' personal experience to Mark Cuban having navigated the health concern in his household, the people backing the company share a perspective on the hows and whys this multi-step program can be the gradual solution to a wide-reaching program. Through education and adoption, the hope is to make positive change in a growing health crisis.

Why is Ready, Set, Food! useful in the food allergen space?

When a parent welcomes a child, the first year can be thrilling, memorable, and even a touch scary. The list of dos, don'ts, and unknowns can make navigating daily life uncertain, especially within the food world. According to a study published in the American Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology in 2020, introducing children under the age of 1 to food allergens can help reduce severe reactions. That concept is one of the reasons why Red, Set, Food!'s multi-step program can be useful for parents. The slow, small amount of allergen ingredients added to formula or breast milk allow the child to introduce the ingredients into their diet gradually, which can reduce the potential of negative reactions.

Although the food allergen concept can be introduced in various ways, this company makes the process easier for the parent. Through pre-measured servings and step-by-step process, it takes the guesswork out of the potentially scary parental task. In addition, the traceback allows parents to track what food does and does not cause dietary issues. 

While Ready, Set, Food! acknowledges that there is "no cure for food allergies," the concept is meant to help subvert the potential of developing the medical condition later in life. Whether it is peanut, egg, or milk, the most common food allergies, the program employs USDA guidelines, medical professional input, and feedback from parents to make the multi-step approach workable in many scenarios. It doesn't guarantee a food allergen-free future, but it offers an option to more easily approach the overwhelming conversation.

Has Ready, Set, Food! sprouted into a successful business venture?

While Ready, Set, Food earned backing from Mark Cuban on "Shark Tank," his funding is only one portion of the brand's success story. According to CrunchBase, the company secured almost $10 million in funding, as well as backing from more than 500 pediatricians and allergists. It's also provided guidance to more than 10,000 family on food allergen introduction. In 2022, the brand partnered with Providence, a top provider of pediatric and primary care. The partnership with the health care community showed a desire to educate families and the medical field. Given that scientific papers may not be light reading, the multi-step program and its concept looked to be the easy to follow support system for their patients.

Also, Ready, Set, Food! collaborated with "Daniel Tiger's Neighborhood." The Fred Rogers Production animated show explores how its character deals with a food allergy. The co-branded packaging looks to build on the brand's 160% sales boost since its "Shark Tank" appearance. While specially branded items are further down the brand's multi-step program, it continues the overall concept of allergen exposure in a controlled, measured way.

Given the company's growth and the continued importance of the food allergy conversation, Ready, Set, Food! is set to be a leader in this space. Even if there's no cure for food allergies, being informed and having a plan can be a step in the right direction.