Live Free Foods: A FODMAP Friendly Certified Low FODMAP Food Company
Following the low FODMAP diet can be a challenge. You have to acquaint yourself with what you can eat and what you cannot eat. You have to learn a whole new way to read labels to make sure that a product is diet compliant.
This means you can eat their Ranch Dressing, Italian Dressing and Caesar Dressing knowing they are guaranteed to be low FODMAP.
We wanted to introduce you to this mover and shaker in the prepared FODMAP food universe, so we sat down with founder Scot Savarese. His company, Live Free Foods, is at an exciting juncture and we want our community to be the first in the loop.
Dédé: Scot, thank you so much for speaking with us. We have been aware of your products for quite some time but for those who are new to Live Free Foods, give us some background. How did you learn about the low FODMAP diet and then, how did you decide to make low FODMAP products?
Hey Dédé, thank you for sitting down with me and getting to learn more about Live Free Foods. I’ve worked in the pharmaceutical industry for over 6 years in gastroenterology. For years, I’ve been trying to convince doctors that IBS is a serious condition, help them diagnose it and then suggesting pharmacological ways to treat it. Sadly, an overwhelming majority of my doctors didn’t believe IBS was a serious, or sometimes even real, condition.
One day I was sitting in an office and a dietitian walked in. We started talking about IBS and got really in depth about the low FODMAP diet. She got excited and pulled out one of her dietitian publications and showed me an ad for Trueself Bars (a former low FODMAP company). I realized during that conversation that the low FODMAP diet gave people the opportunity to take their gut health into their own hands, without costly drugs. I also learned that there just weren’t a lot of options out there for people to eat. That planted the seeds and the rest is history.
How did you choose salad dressing to focus on first? Do you have other products coming down the line?
Funnily enough, salad dressings weren’t my first idea. But I decided if I was going to build this brand, I needed to do proper research. I posted up a survey on the wonderful low FODMAP support groups on Facebook. Sauces and dressings were the overwhelming winner for which products people said they needed. So, I got to work developing a ranch dressing, because it’s one of the most versatile condiments. It’s no secret that Low FODMAP can sometimes be bland. So that’s why I wanted to launch with a product that would give people the most versatility for their buck.
We’re hoping with this next step were taking (which we talk about below) that we’ll be able to get some more sauces and condiments to market soon. After sauces and condiments, the possibilities are endless. There are still so many categories in the grocery store that don’t have low FODMAP equivalents. Ultimately, we’ll make foods that the Low FODMAP community wants and needs.
How do you go about your product development?
The first step is always to talk to the community. Every product we’ve made, or are planning on making, has been a result of asking people following low FODMAP what they want to eat. We also have great relationships with some of the incredible bloggers in the low FODMAP space, which have helped us dial in our products. Next, we work with an incredible team of chefs and food scientists to create our recipes. The first question I ask myself when we’re tweaking the recipe is,
“Does this taste just like the leading brand you’d buy at the store?” If it doesn’t, it’s back to the drawing board. No one wants to replace their comfort foods with imitations, that while safe, are just “good enough”. Click To Tweet
Let’s tell everyone about what your products are “free-from”.
One of the things we’re excited to announce is Our Gut Health Promise. Not only are we ensuring our products are free-from high FODMAP ingredients like onion and garlic, we’re taking it a step further and ensuring our products are also Soy Free and Gluten Free. We understand that just because something is safe on low FODMAP doesn’t mean that people don’t have other dietary or digestive concerns. Every decision we make regarding “free-from” is made using the current scientific consensus.
Tell us about why you decided to certify your products by FODMAP Friendly?
When I started on this journey, I reached out to several owners of other brands like Melissa from Trueself and Onyx from Casa de Sante. They gave great advice. And part of that advice was to certify with FODMAP Friendly. From the start, FODMAP Friendly was incredibly helpful not only in lab testing our products for safety, but they also helped us pick the right ingredients when creating our recipes.
You have just launched a crowdfunding equity campaign. Tell our community what that is and what your goals are.
This is the other big news we’re excited to announce! Equity crowdfunding is like Kickstarter, but for investment. Instead of going on Shark Tank and giving Mr. Wonderful 80% of our company for $20 or giving up control to institutional investors like an investment bank or Venture Capital firm, we wanted to grow with the help of people who know IBS the best.
Our goal is to raise $107,000 using the SEC’s new Regulation Crowdfunding. This means that investing in startups isn’t just for the rich anymore. It allows everyday people to buy ownership in companies they believe in. After all, who understands the importance of low FODMAP better; people with IBS or Silicon Valley bankers?
How does this benefit the FODMAP community? What does it provide for Live Free Foods?
I really believe this will be a great opportunity for the low FODMAP community. Because for the first time, people in the community will have a chance to be part owners in a FODMAP brand. This means they’ll get a say in where this brand goes and what decisions we make. Decisions that ultimately affect the community. We’re not asking for a charity or handout. This is an investment, not only in the future of FODMAP and gut health, but for themselves. Like any investment, there is inherent risk, but if we succeed and grow, so does the return on their investment.
What this provides for us is the funding to research and launch more products. We’ve grown as far as we can investing all my personal savings. With our process fully dialed in, it won’t cost much per product to formulate, test, and launch new dressings, sauces, and condiments. And as many of your readers know, we’ve had issues being out of stock more times than I’d care to mention. With capital in the bank, we’ll be able to keep a steady supply of products available on our website and Amazon, but also allow us to get stocked in more store locations, which will make enjoying your favorite low FODMAP products easier.
If someone wants to get involved, what do they do?
We’ve launched our campaign on Wefunder. There’s a video explaining Live Free Foods and an in-depth summary of the company, our financials, the risks, and the perks for investing. It also covers all the legal bases. I also know that asking people to invest is a big ask, so they’re more than welcome to reach out to me directly over email if they’d like to talk more or ask questions. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Scot, this is very exciting! And good for you for thinking outside the box. We wish you the best of luck. FODMAPers need more food that they can trust is low FODMAP and there is no better assurance than a certified low FODMAP product.
For more info, please follow Scot’s links above.
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