Child allergen company expands to Exeter after Shark Tank success

Ready. Set. Food!, creators of an early allergen introduction system for children, moves into a warehouse in Exeter to help their production line

EXETER – Not every company is ready to swim with the sharks, but one that jumped into Shark Tank is taking up residence in Exeter.

The company Ready Set Food! has made incredible progress over the past two years after appearing on Shark Tank in 2020 and receiving an endorsement from Mark Cuban. As of July 2022 they opened a warehouse on F Street in Exeter to help with expansion.

Ready Set Food! is a company that created an early allergen introduction system for children through powder mix-ins, oatmeal and additional snacks. It was created to allow children a better opportunity to be free from food allergies for the rest of their life.

“The reason why we chose [Exeter] is because we’re headquartered in Los Angeles and price per square foot is much more affordable in the Central Valley,” vice president of operations Emily Peltzer said.

With trucks coming and going each day, the Exeter location serves as a hub for all the necessary ingredients for production. According to Emily, the Exeter warehouse has helped cut unnecessary costs tremendously. It allows for the company to buy more of their products in bulk therefore saving money. Before, Ready. Set. Food! opened the warehouse, they would purchase ingredients for every order causing the company to have to pay more for less product more often.

“When we took a step back and looked at the movement of our raw materials and even our finished goods, we were able to reduce our freight bookings by like 76% by opening up this warehouse,” Emily said. 

According to the warehouse manager Elise Peltzer, they have to search for all organic products which can be a task, so the ability to now store these products in bulk has been a huge help. Though they do not make the products at the Exeter location, they do package the products and ship them out to a distributor for several of their stores. Ready. Set. Food! is also an Amazon FBA, or fulfilled by amazon distributor, so they send completed products to Amazon for distribution. 

Ready. Set. Food! is a growing start up company and did not need a huge warehouse, so the Exeter location was the perfect size. They will remain in Exeter for the next few years, or until they outgrow the facilities, which is definitely a possibility according to both Elise and Emily.

As the company started with Cuban’s offer on Shark Tank of $350,000 for 10% equity in 2020, and they have grown to distribute to locations such as Target, buybuyBABY, Amazon, Walmart, Wegmans and Meijer. The company began in Los Angeles and is now sold in those stores across the nation. Since they appeared on Shark Tank, the company has seen a significant rise in revenue. 

The only concern Emily said they have is the Valley’s summer heat. Storing their products in the warehouse in high temperatures in Exeter is not ideal for some of their raw materials. However, she said they have brainstormed ways of making it work, whether that be leaning on some of their co-manufacturers, not buying as much product in bulk or a combination of the two. 

Ready, Set, Food! makes it easy for parents to introduce allergens in a variety of different ways, through powder mix-ins, oatmeal, oat and fruit bars and Elise said they are working on a variety of new snacks. According to their website, pediatricians and allergists agree the introduction of allergens as early as four months of age is important for the well being of a baby.

For infants, Ready. Set. Food! has made a product that will easily mix into a bottle of formula or breast milk. Stage one gradually introduces peanut, egg and milk, one at a time, which is followed by stage two which does not introduce additional allergens, it only “maintains” the level of allergens given to the child. Stage three is for children who eat solid food on a regular basis. This round of packets increases the amount of allergens from three to nine, including peanut, egg, milk, cashew, almond, walnut, sesame, soy and wheat. They have also created an oatmeal, in several flavors, for children that contains all nine allergens as well.

In the past, Emily said they have done some fundraising efforts, most recently completing a round in January 2022. She said thanks to the Exeter warehouse and the tremendous amount of money they have saved, they should not need to fundraise as soon as they originally thought. 

“I think honestly with the way things have been going on, the cost of goods sold and having Exeter as support we’ve been able to increase our profit margins,” Emily said. “So we may not need to go out and fundraise as soon as we thought we needed to.”

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