In the US alone, an estimated 8% of children have food allergies. That’s 1 in 13 children or roughly 2 in every classroom. But these numbers weren’t always so high. In fact, the rate of food allergies worldwide has increased from 3% of the population in 1960 to 7% in 2018.
So what explains this spike in food allergies and why does it seem like such a big deal these days? Well, some researchers theorize that it has to do with our gut and whether or not we encounter certain types of microorganisms, particularly during our early development stages.
The solution then becomes to introduce allergenic foods to children as early as possible. Gone all the days where we’re told to avoid common allergens. Today, doctors, researchers, and other medical experts are imploring parents to take the necessary steps to introduce their child to common allergens starting as early as 4-6 months of age.
But if you’re like most parents, you have no idea where to begin and how to do that safely. Luckily, there are companies out there that take all the guesswork out of early allergen introduction. Spoonfulone and Ready Set Food are two early allergen introduction systems and I’m going to help you decide which one is the best choice for you and your family.
Can I Really Prevent My Baby From Food Allergies?
Before we dive in, I want to first address this question, because I was certainly asking this, too, when I was exploring allergen introduction for my own children. If you’re like me, you’re thinking “aren’t some kids just born with allergies?”
To my surprise, it appears that the science is saying no. The latest research points to food allergies developing over time and the presence of a critical immune window for prevention.
So, yes, it is quite possible to prevent your baby from developing allergies to food and it starts with the introduction of these allergens early on in childhood. Also important to note is that every child is susceptible to food allergies, even if their parents don’t have any - which will bring me to my next point…
How do you know if your baby is at risk for developing allergies to foods?
As I said, every child is susceptible to developing allergies, but there are some risk factors that can increase their likelihood of experiencing them:
- Delaying food introduction - Babies who aren’t introduced to peanuts until 12 months of age are 4x more likely to develop a peanut allergy. Waiting until 18 months makes the risk even greater at 7x.
- Eczema - Babies with eczema are 600% more likely to develop an allergy to a food.
- Gender - Females have a 167% increased risk of developing food allergies than males.
- Race - Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, and other races are at a higher likelihood of developing allergies to foods than Whites.
Armed with that information, let’s take a look at what your options are as a parent for avoiding food allergies in your children.
Ready, Set, Food! Vs. SpoonfulONE: Breaking down the core stats
As an introduction to this comparison, take a look at the table below to gather some of the highlighting features and stats about each brand and what they bring to the table.
Ready Set Food!
4 months - early childhood
2-7 times per week for 6+ months
One packet, once daily, for one year
9 foods - peanut, egg, milk, cashew, almond, walnut, sesame, soy and wheat
16 foods - peanuts, milk, shellfish (shrimp), tree nuts (almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts), egg, fish (cod and salmon), grains (oats and wheat), soy, and sesame
Powder mix in
Powder mixin (age 4+ months), puffs (ages 6+ months), and oat crackers (ages 12+ months)
One allergen at a time for a few days at a time
Each packet contains equal amounts of all allergens and is introduced at the same time
Length of use
$29.99/month for 6 months with a subscription
$59.50/month with a subscription
SpoonfulONE is a science-based allergen introduction system that works in your baby’s tummy to help introduce common allergens during the development of his/her immune system. Their formula is precisely portioned to make sure that your child is getting the exact amount of proteins in each serving to safely introduce the most common 16 food allergens.
The premise of this program is that, as your child is introduced to each allergen, the immune cells in their stomach will begin to recognize the foods, but instead of treating them as allergens, they will be treated as just regular foods. With 16 foods in each packet, SpoonfulONE covers over 90% of food allergies.
How to use
Scientists and researchers have identified a critical window for children when it comes to multi-allergen introduction, and that window happens between 4-6 months. SpoonfulONE recommends that you give your child:
- 1 packet per day
- Once per day
- For a full year
One of the neat things about SpoonfulONE is that the program can grow with your child. So even if you start your young baby out with the powdered mixin packets, you can profess to offer them puffs as they develop more mature eaters and then oat crackers as they begin to enter toddlerhood.
Analyzing Ready, Set, Food!
Ready Set Food was developed by two medical professionals who had personal experience with trying to introduce their children to allergens and recognizing that there was a serious gap in the industry, leaving a lot of parents guessing. Their answer to a growing problem was to create a safe way to introduce the top three allergens to children, decreasing their likelihood of developing an allergic reaction.
See even more on our detailed Ready Set Food review article.
Following the advice of the USDA dietary guidelines as well as other major medical groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics, Ready Set Food gradually introduces these three allergens one at a time using a two-step process.
How it works
In step one, your child will be introduced to cow’s milk for days 1-4, cow’s milk + egg for days 5-8, and then cow’s milk, peanut, and eggs for days 9-11. After that, your child is then considered to be in maintenance for 6 months, ingesting all three allergens daily to ensure a proper immune response.
Key Similarities and differences between Ready Set Food and SpoonfullONE
To keep things as simple and straightforward as possible, let’s breakdown the similarities and differences between these two brands:
Both brands have important similarities and they are…
- Offer safe, scientifically-based early allergen introduction to babies and toddlers.
- Have a simple ingestion method and easy to follow instructions.
- Recommend that you use their product for at least 6 months.
- Have countless positive reviews and professional endorsements.
Here’s where they differ…
- SpoonfulONE introduces your baby to 16 allergens, Ready Set Food uses 9.
- Ready Set Food introduces one allergen at a time, SpoonfulONE groups them all together.
- SpoonfulONE offers puffs and crackers with the same ingredients as babies get older, Ready Set Food uses powder mixins only.
Which Allergen Introduction Product is Best For Your Family? Spoonfull ONE or Ready Set Food?
By now, you have a pretty idea of what both of these brands have to offer and how they work, however, it’s still important to talk with your pediatrician about which option is the best one for your child. If your baby has any of the risk factors that we listed above, it’s especially important to consult your pediatrician before beginning any formal allergen introduction process.
All that said, both brands offer an incredible resource for parents who desire to be proactive about introducing their children to common allergens and preventing them from developing a reaction. Trying to replicate this process on your own is not only difficult but potentially very risky if not done so correctly.
Honestly, I think your biggest choice between these two is going to come down to how many allergens do you want your child to be exposed to at once. If you want to keep it simple and stick with the most common, then Ready Set Food is the way to go. I also love that they give your child one allergen at a time so that you can identify any issues with one before moving onto the next. This process makes it much easier to determine which food is causing the allergy.
On the other hand, you can go with SpoonfulOne and allow your child to become exposed to 16 foods all at once, increasing their immune response to all 16.
Use your best judgment and speak with your child’s pediatrician with any questions!