WHAT STEPS DO YOU TAKE TO MAKE SURE THE SNACKS ARE SAFE FOR PEOPLE WITH TREE-NUT AND PEANUT ALLERGIES (TPA)?
We have a very strict NUT TESTING PROTOCOL. All of our partners and suppliers know our requirements and know they will not be in business with us if they fail to meet our requirements.
WHERE IS SKEETER SNACKS LOCATED?
Skeeter Snacks is located in Westport, CT. We sold our very first cookie at Oscar’s Deli on Main Street in Westport. Our snacks are made all over the USA in nut-free facilities.
WHY DO YOU ONLY TAKE OUT TREE NUTS AND PEANUTS AND NOT ALL OF THE BIG 8 ALLERGENS?
We started the company because we each have a child with tree-nut and peanut allergies (TPAs), so that was our original focus. We were frustrated parents and consumers. After we lived with the problem and decided there was a business opportunity we considered whether we wanted to go after all of the Big 8 allergens. We ultimately decided to keep our focus on TPAs for a couple of reasons. First, TPAs are the most lethal, most prevalent and fastest growing food allergens, and they are mostly not outgrown in adolescence. Schools and other institutions (theme parks, camps, little leagues etc.) catering to kids are way ahead of the consumer packaged goods industry in recognizing the importance of creating nut free zones. By and large the incumbent snack food brands are dealing with this epidemic by adding warning labels and disclaimers to their packaging, and this creates an opportunity for a better way. Second, when we looked at the non-allergen food market in general we were struck by the sacrifices in taste and affordability that consumers were forced to endure. We decided we wanted to create products that appeal to allergic and non-allergic kids (and adults) alike and are priced in line with main-aisle brands. TPAs are a mainstream problem that were being addressed with a very niche response, and we wanted to change that.
WHAT DO PETE AND DAVE, THE TWO DADS, KNOW ABOUT THE SNACK FOOD BUSINESS?
Eighteen months ago not much! Now? Quite a lot. Pete and Dave are old friends who each have a child with TPA (Pete’s daughter Abby and Dave’s son Remy). In 2011 at a dinner in Los Angeles they were discussing the hassles and dangers of their situations and it dawned on them that a company like Skeeter needed to exist. If they didn’t do it, someone would. Parents and kids need a brand that stands for delicious and nut-safe across the traditionally problematic product categories. The two dads were surprised that the major CPG companies were so far behind consumers and communities in crafting a response to this epidemic. Pete and Dave want to make it EASY TO BE SAFE and give kids (and all allergy sufferers) an option so good they would buy it even if they didn’t have an allergy. Pete and Dave want to make nut-safety a NO-BRAINER and a baseline criteria for snacks sold primarily to kids and groups of kids. The two dads also knew that the messaging associated with the products had to speak to parents of non-allergic kids as well since teachers, counselors, coaches and parents are frequently in situations where they are providing snacks for groups containing a TPA sufferer.
WHAT DOES SKEETER STAND FOR?
Nut-free. Delicious. Affordable. Inclusive. Fun.
DO YOU THINK NON-ALLERGIC PEOPLE WILL BUY SKEETERS?
Absolutely. Try them. They’re awesome. Why wouldn’t someone buy these? We really think that given the number of TPA sufferers out there that in the future being nut-free will be a given for a product being sold to kids.
WHY DID YOU NAME THE COMPANY SKEETER?
We thought it was a cool name. It went with the character we had in mind. Our kids liked the name. Also, our first two choices, which in hindsight we like less than Skeeter, ran into internet domain and/or trademark issues!!
YOU MAKE COOKIES TODAY. WHAT WILL YOU MAKE IN THE FUTURE?
Our plan is world domination starting with cookies! We are launching with cookies but will quickly be moving into other areas that are problematic for people, groups and families dealing with nut allergies. Skeeter will be a multi-category brand that symbolizes great taste and nut-safety. We have a good idea of the areas that need to be Skeeter-ized because we have allergic kids. If you have product you would love to see made in a nut-safe manner, LET US KNOW! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and if enough people agree, we will get to work!