Meet Allergy Schatz!
In First Features, we feature brand new CPG startups who have never received any media coverage before. We are so thrilled to provide our community members with the first look at some of the most exciting emerging brands in CPG. These brands may be the best-kept-secrets for now, but we have a feeling they won’t stay that way for very long.
Read on to learn more about Adrianna Ford and her allergen-friendly food brand, Allergy Schatz.
Who is Allergy Schatz?
“Allergy Schatz creates great tasting, allergy-friendly food. We have a gluten-free waffle mix, fry flour mix, chocolate cake mix, cinnamon cake mix, and ready-to-eat products, and our entire range is top 8 allergen-free, gluten-free, and vegan. I created this brand to serve the food-allergy community and make allergy-friendly food that isn’t a compromise but tastes really, really good.” I created this brand to serve the food-allergy community by offering allergy-friendly food that isn’t a compromise and tastes really, really good.”
Why did you start Allergy Schatz?
“First of all, I love food. Before I ever got into working with food, I was just a person who loved to eat. But when I started having health problems, I found out I had severe allergies. I’m allergic to milk, wheat, corn, apples, mangoes, coconut, almonds, catfish and scallops. So it’s a doozy. Once, I burst into tears in the grocery store when I was looking for food I could eat. I want to enjoy my food like everybody else, but I also want something that is clean and isn’t going to hurt my body. Some of the first things I missed [when I stopped eating gluten and dairy) were pastries and cake, so I started learning how to make a cake mix.Then, I created a gluten-free fry mix — My family is from the south, so fried food is essential. We also have our unlawful waffle mix. I love waffles, but I didn’t know if I there was a syrup I could eat, so I put a little bit of sweetness and cinnamon in the mix, so I could still have that syrup taste. I wanted to make products where, eventually, I could walk into a restaurant or a coffee shop and eat stuff that I like without having to worry, so that’s the goal with our products.”
What has been your proudest moment since founding Allergy Schatz?
“It happened soon after I launched Allergy Schatz. I had never exhibited anywhere before. I reached out to the LA Coffee Festival, which had booths and such, but I realized I couldn’t afford to be with them. But then they reached out and said, ‘We love what you’re trying to do. We’ll give you a discount, and we’ll help you do a payment plan.’ After it was settled that I would do a booth, they reached out again and said, ‘We have a section in our exhibit called ‘The Kitchen’ where we bring in hot new chefs to cook something for an audience. Would you be interested?’ And I was like, ‘Absolutely.’ So I got to go to this festival and participate with people who’ve been in the industry for years. I was on stage doing cooking demos and teaching people how to make my waffles, and how to make corn-free corndogs and other recipes. And for that to happen in the beginning, to meet famous chefs who tried my food and gave me great feedback — it was just the most amazing kickoff to a business I could have ever asked for.”
What has been the most challenging moment since founding Allergy Schatz?
“I have severe food allergies, but I also have multiple disabilities, including a form of arthritis that I was diagnosed with when I was nine years old. It affects my ability to walk, my joints, my hands, my knees, and my feet. I can be doing really well and people will never know, and then you might see me two months later and I have a cane. It’s off and on and it has to do with stress. In the past year or so I went through a lot of traumatic events, including multiple miscarriages and the loss of my mother. All of the stress and additional medical issues caused me to have an eight-month period where I couldn’t walk. I was trying to push through it and still do my business, but it was really difficult. My business will be doing well and then my disability will flare up, and I have to explain to people where I’ve been or why I didn’t do something. It’s not because I’m lazy. It’s because my disability can sometimes come in and throw everything off course.”
What are some of your dreams for the future of Allergy Schatz?
“I’m always looking for ways to spread awareness about food allergies. There are a lot of misconceptions about food allergies, so I’m excited about all of the opportunities I have coming up to be able to speak to young people and adults about food allergies. Down the line, I want to get into restaurants, coffee shops, and stores like Whole Foods, Erewhon, and Sprouts. Being in a restaurant or cafe in LA would be amazing. As of now, I only know of one restaurant where they make a fried dish that I can eat…I want businesses to understand that customers with food allergies are not a liability. You will bring more customers to your restaurant if you can accommodate others. A coffee shop told me — and I saved the email for myself so I can look back one day — that they didn’t want to carry my product because it was not their responsibility to cater to people with food allergies. And in my mind, it’s your civic duty to care about the people who are eating where you work, and it will only enhance your business to serve the allergy community.”
How can the Startup CPG community support you?
“Obviously, it would be great for people to follow us on social media, but I would also love for people to spread the word about Allergy Schatz to the people in their lives with food allergies. Get the word out that this company exists to serve the food allergy community. It can be very isolating hen you feel like you can’t eat what everyone else is eating. So I want people to know that we’re here and we have products for them.”
To connect with Adrianna about Allergy Schatz, reach out via Startup CPG’s Slack (@Adrianna Ford-Schatz) or Linkedin.