TAMPA, FLA. — Walton Clark is getting into the gut-health business. The former director of marketing at Unilever has been named chief operating officer and an equity partner at Live Free Foods, a new start-up focused on creating and distributing Low FODMAP certified grocery products.
Mr. Clark has more than two decades of experience managing brands like Wish-Bone, Ragu, Bertolli and Lipton. His first task will be securing a seed round of financing for the newcomer company.
“Building brands is not about the size of the company, but finding real consumer problems and bringing solutions,” he said. “Live Free Foods is on the forefront of a great opportunity.”
The Low FODMAP market is growing. The acronym stands for “Fermentable Oligo-Di, Mono-saccharides And Polyols,”— short chain carbohydrates that are difficult for the small intestine to absorb. The Low FODMAP diet has been proven to help manage the symptoms of functional gastrointestinal disorders, like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (I.B.S.), which is estimated to effect 1 in every 7 Americans.
Live Free Foods has its eyes set on becoming the leading partner for consumers suffering from digestive diseases by putting Low FODMAP certified foods on grocery store shelves. Scott Savarese, founder and chief executive officer at Live Free Foods, said he decided to break into the category after working in gastroenterology.
“Most patients were being set up to fail on the Low FODMAP diet,” he said. “A lack of certified foods at grocery stores meant that people had to meal prep everything from scratch.”
The company’s initial products include a line of “gut-friendly” Caesar, Italian and ranch dressings. Live Free Foods products currently are available online and at more than 60 Hy-Vee locations throughout the mid-west. The company also has partnered with Kroger, Central Market and Amazon.
“Live Free Foods is the perfect fusion of clinical nutritional sciences and irresistible everyday foods,” Mr. Savarese said. “Our brand is on the verge of dominating a new market.”