We had the good fortune of connecting with Catherine Mitchell Jaxon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Catherine, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Mission MightyMe was born out of our family’s personal struggle with food allergies and our desire to help other families avoid them. Our oldest daughter is allergic to most nuts. When our third child came along, the landmark clinical trial called the Learning Early About Peanut Allergy (LEAP) Study found that early and consistent peanut consumption, from the first year of life until age 5, could prevent up to 86 percent of peanut allergies. This finding changed infant feeding guidelines around the globe and gave us hope that we might be able to prevent another food allergy in our family. But we were frustrated with the lack of baby-friendly peanut foods on the market. So my husband JJ and I partnered with the pediatric allergist who led the LEAP Study, Dr. Gideon Lack, to develop a line of foods that make it safe and simple to include peanut and other commonly allergenic foods in infant diets, as pediatric guidelines now recommend. We kept thinking a big baby food company would do it and when nobody did, we decided we had to do it ourselves!
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Mission MightyMe is disrupting the $20+ billion baby food industry by embracing the science and new pediatric feeding guidelines that recommend introducing common food allergens like peanuts, starting in the first year of life, to prevent food allergies.
Our foods are all developed with the pediatric allergist who discovered that food allergy prevention is possible, Dr. Gideon Lack, and comply with his research and the guidelines that followed.
Our first product, MightyMe Proactive Peanut Puffs, contain more than 50% peanut, making it easy to get the amount of peanut protein per week recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics. They also taste delicious. There are only a handful of other allergy prevention products on the market and most are nutritional supplements that require dosing or mixing. We have intentionally steered away from medicalizing the feeding process and make it possible to get diverse foods into infant diets naturally with delicious foods, because feeding babies should be fun and enjoyable!
Despite the rigorous research and new pediatric feeding guidelines, the baby food industry is still largely allergen-free. Launching Mission MightyMe hasn’t been easy because we are going against the grain of the entire industry. Even finding a manufacturer who could make a baby puff containing peanut was incredibly difficult. But as a food allergy family, the mission is personal for us and we’re not giving up.
Hearing from our grateful customers is what gets me most excited. We have so many wonderful messages from moms, dads and grandparents who are relieved and over the moon to have found such an easy and enjoyable way to prevent food allergies in their children.
Ultimately, we want the world to know that food allergy prevention is possible. Our goal is to end the food allergy epidemic. We’re starting with peanut allergies because that’s where we have the best research available, thanks to Dr. Lack and his team. Based on the LEAP Study results, mass household adoption of peanut allergy prevention could prevent more than 150,000 peanut allergies in the US each year and virtually eliminate new peanut allergies in children over the next 20 years. Emerging research on other common food allergens, especially egg, is also promising and the USDA now recommends introducing all common food allergens when a baby starts solids. We’re developing a full line of foods that make following those recommendations possible. We want to change the way we feed our children so we can help the next generation grow up allergy-free.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Atlanta has so many great places to explore! We would definitely hit ponce city market, play on the rooftop there, walk or bike the belt line, stop for drinks at Ladybird and then dinner at Parish. We’d also spend a day in Piedmont Park, and visit the Botanical Gardens – especially if they are having a concert in the Garden! We’d also hang out on on the West Side and have dinner at the Optimist. We’d spend an afternoon at Fernbank, catch an IMAX and walk the trails in WildWoods. And we’d have dinner on the river at Canoe – the prettiest dinner spot in Atlanta!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I grew up in Atlanta and was fortunate to have a mom and dad who were great parents and and also gave a lot back to their community. My dad was a civic leader and has the strongest moral compass of anyone I know, and my mom was a trailblazer at the United Nations in New York and named Woman of the Year in Atlanta for her work with the Poverty Program. They always pushed me to get out of my comfort zone, see the world, work to make it better and never rest on your laurels. I’m grateful for the ways they challenged me and also the example they set for me.
Shelli Allen Photography Mary Claire Photography Sara Hanna Photography @kaitlynvirgen @ingridbrown2 @xomrsmitchell