Cheers to Three Years – A Conversation With Mark Olivieri, OWYN
This week, FARE is thrilled to celebrate its three-year partnership with OWYN – Only What You Need. OWYN is a 100 percent plant-based protein product free from the top eight allergens. Even more exciting, OWYN is a proud champion of the food allergy community and supports FARE’s mission to improve the quality of life and the health of individuals with food allergies.
Learn more about what drives the folks at OWYN in this conversation with Mark Olivieri, OWYN’s President.
What inspires OWYN to create products that do not include the Top 8?
Mark Olivieri: Food allergy is a growing epidemic affecting 32 million Americans and even more worldwide. Our goal at OWYN is to adopt an unprecedented standard for developing products that live by our name. At the core of OWYN, there are real personal food allergy stories that drive what we do. For me personally, I have a sister who cannot have any of the top 10 allergens, and I am also lactose intolerant. My wife has an autoimmune disease and cannot eat certain foods, and her father has celiac disease. One of OWYN’s founders has a daughter with a peanut allergy and the other, FARE Board of Governors member Leigh Feuerstein, has a son with eosinophilic esophagitis. Behind OWYN are real personal stories that help to drive what we do.
Additionally, for decades, consumers have been misled by confusing nutritional information and a lack of transparent alternatives. We are almost in 2020—food technology has transformed to a point where we believe no one should have to compromise on flavor, taste, or product quality because you have a food allergy. OWYN’s goal is to create better, safer options for people with food allergy, and this requires unprecedented transparency, to which we are committed.
Also, OWYN develops its products with nutritionists and dieticians to ensure they meet the needs of the community. We tap into these experts for their specific recommendations for the food allergy community, to better understand the trends they are seeing at the community level, and to review the types of resources they are providing to their patients.
Why is a partnership with FARE so important to OWYN?
Mark Olivieri: The OWYN-FARE relationship started because Leigh wanted to find solutions for his son and others with food allergy, as well as support the latest research and education efforts. We support these endeavors and strive to raise awareness about FARE and food allergy. We inform the food allergy community as much as possible about the different credible resources, including FARE, and engagement opportunities available to help keep them informed.
How has the food allergy community embraced OWYN as an option?
Mark Olivieri: The food allergy community is at the core of who we are. About 77 percent of our consumers (via an online survey) have identified themselves as having a food allergy or living in a household with someone else with food allergy. OWYN strives to bring clarity and inspiration to the community by sharing real-world food allergy experiences and how OWYN can help solve dietary needs.
We have an audience that loves OWYN. We are fulfilling the community’s needs by creating safer options. We receive inbound emails and messages daily from consumers thanking us because they previously haven’t been able to find solutions in their lives, solutions we are now providing. Hearing from the community helps to validate what we are doing, our mission, and our cause.
What are you most excited about for the future of food allergy?
Mark Olivieri: What gets me most excited is the food allergy community itself. Additionally, I am excited that OWYN is creating a movement. The OWYN brand is growing and is on fire. And it’s not just OWYN—allergy-friendly products are extending to a mainstream audience. We are raising awareness of food allergy and challenging the broader competitive market to adopt our higher standards. Our co-packer is publishing on its website the OWYN allergen testing protocol. Competitor brands are starting to embrace Top-8-free products. This is exciting, and we embrace these efforts because we cannot accomplish the mission on our own. We need more brands and retailers to join us in addressing the needs of the growing number of food-allergic people.
Click here for a special offer from OWYN celebrating the 3-year partnership with FARE.
While FARE does not endorse products, we support and appreciate enterprises and organizations that are committed to serving the food allergy community. FARE’s ability to make an impact is strengthened by partnering with like-minded companies to help raise food allergy awareness and provide more options to all those living with food allergy.