Sometimes you have a great recipe, or a great idea for a food company. Yet the reality is that of the more than 15,000 new foods and beverages introduced each year, less than 10% actually make it onto store shelves, and a small percentage of those are still around three years later.
And that’s what almost happened to Breathable Foods. Their concept was based on a proprietary process to encapsulate compounds to help consumers with sleep, anxiety or energy. They raised a lot of venture capital dollars and launched a product—Aeroshot Energy, a competitor to 5-Hour Energy—but the company was sent a warning letter by the FDA.
Fast-forward, and the company is now called Incredible Foods, has a new CEO who once led Ocean Spray, and has 5,000 supermarkets stocking PerfectlyFree bites, a dairy-free frozen dessert that is free of allergens. More importantly, it tastes great—and received a score of 89 on Phil’s Food Reviews when it first launched.
Here’s what I said then: "I know these are touted specifically as an allergy-free dessert—but you don't have to have a food allergy to love them. A great caramel shell with vanilla inside that is made from a recipe of coconut cream and rice syrup. Each piece is just 30 calories, 1 gram of fat and 6 grams of sugars; nothing artificial. There is a slightly different taste to the end note, but this is a great and healthier alternative."
PerfectlyFree will be continuing its success. Between 1997 and 2011, the prevalence of food allergies in children increased by 50%, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention—that translates to about 15 million Americans with food allergies, including 5.9 million under age 18.
Over a year ending in October, unit sales of PerfectlyFree bites increased by 186%, according to the company.