CHICAGO — Meet Abby, Gavin and Remy, the names of the newest cookie, granola and graham cracker lines from The Safe + Fair Food Co. However, to the founders, Dave Leyrer and Pete Najarian, and chairman Gareth Asten, these are foremost the names of their children. Abby Najarian and Gavin Asten have a peanut allergy, and Remy Leyrer has three different allergies; their intolerances are the reason Safe + Fair was born.
“If you have food allergies, you’re functionally only able to buy about 5% to 10% of things at the grocery store because it’s a micron of the protein that could create an anaphylactic reaction,” said Will Holsworth, chief executive officer of Safe + Fair. “We try to create a business that makes food that’s safe for people to eat and is fairly priced because that’s what people deserve.”
The newest products include Abby’s Cookies in shortbread, Remy’s Grahams in honey and Gavin’s Granola debuting in cinnamon. Each snack is sold in school districts and online as a box containing 36 packages and has a suggested retail price of $14.99. The flavors specifically speak to peanut and tree-nut allergies, but future products will be free from gluten, dairy or other top allergens.
Not only does school distribution give children with allergies more options, but it also bypasses retail slotting fees and transfers the value directly to the consumer for fair pricing. Online, consumers also may shop by allergen, which means every product is not free from every allergen. For example, if someone is allergic to dairy and gluten, the search result will exclude products with those ingredients but still include nuts.
“You can’t make products that are completely free,” Mr. Holsworth said. “If you have to give up dairy, you don’t want to give up gluten, too, right?”
Safe + Fair has 14 pages of manufacturing protocol, and from the beginning to the end of the supply chain, safety takes precedence. Products are lot-tested within the facility and by an outside third party for additional validation. The company’s loyalty to allergen-free products goes further with 3% of its proceeds donated to the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research at Stanford University. Safe + Fair also shares the research center’s information on its packages and includes a portal on its web site for real-time updates on what’s happening at the facility.
The shortbread cookies, granola and honey graham crackers also reflect the company’s goal to make tasty, clean label foods that appeal to a variety of consumer palates. Mr. Holsworth’s sense of quality developed from his grandmother’s baking standards.
“She just used real ingredients, and that’s all we’re doing,” he explained.
By the end of 2018 — Safe + Fair’s second year — the company will increase its 8 products to 30 to 40 with new varieties and lines, including chips, crackers and brownie mixes. By 2019, that number will more than double.
“For families dealing with this issue, it will allow them to have a lot of food in their pantry,” Mr. Holsworth said. “Not only what their kid wants to eat but also what everybody will want to eat.”