Meet the Maker: Partake

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Partake is the only allergy-friendly brand of cookies sold at Target. Now available nationwide are Crunchy Birthday Cake, Crunchy Chocolate Chip and Soft Baked Cookie Butter. Food allergy mom Denise Woodard hit the bullseye by creating delicious and healthy cookies that are also Top 8+ allergen free. If that wasn’t cool enough, Jay-Z’s venture fund is an investor!

In partnership with our friends at

 

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Crumb-roll please…

I started out as an allergy mom on a mission, selling my cookies out of the trunk of my car, cold calling dedicated-free facilities and hoping they’d take a chance on me. Now we are available on the shelves of Target stores nationwide. I’m pinching myself. Typically a brand will get one flavor in a limited number of stores. We got three flavors in over 1,600 stores nationwide. Not only is that huge for Partake, but also for the food allergy community.

Why did you create Partake?

Our daughter Vivienne was diagnosed with multiple allergies: cashew, pistachio, walnut, pecan, corn, egg and banana. I started noticing how every fun thing we do as a society revolves around food and with allergies, you can’t always ‘partake.’ I left my job at Coca-Cola to create a delicious, safe cookie that everyone could enjoy. With the Target launch, we are truly living up to our name. 

Hitting the Bullseye

I’ve found that many allergy-friendly, vegan or gluten-free snacks are full of sugar, gums, starches and weird artificial ingredients. I wanted something that was healthy and delicious. Our cookies are 20-30% lower in sugar than the average gluten-free cookie and we use organic ancient grains like buckwheat and millet. We use cassava flour instead of the rice, gums, emulsifiers and starches you find in a lot of other products. Even our fun sprinkles in the Birthday Cake cookies are dye-free, all natural and vegetable-based.

What allergens are your cookies free of?

All of our cookies are free from the Top 8 allergens, as well as mustard, sesame, lupin, crustaceans, casein and sulphites.

Tell us about your dedicated facility

As a food allergy parent, I understand the importance of having a dedicated facility and having strict protocols in terms of ingredient suppliers. Our facility is dedicated free of the Top 8 allergens and they are certified by the Gluten Free Certification Organization. We comply with industry standards for allergen controls, which includes segregating allergens during ingredient storage and production. We are Certified Gluten Free and Certified Vegan and all of our products are non-GMO and Kosher.

The Allergy Mom Double Check

Even though our facility is dedicated free of peanut and gluten, we test every batch for peanut and gluten and we are working on adding testing for other allergens in the future. As an allergy mom, even though we get certificates that each ingredient was made in a free-of facility, I still think, “what about the truck that brought it there or the field it grew in?” Our testing is that allergy mom double-check.

99 Problems and a Cookie Ain’t One

Jay-Z, through his fund Marcy Partners, is an investor. All three partners are parents, and my mission really resonated with them.

Playing Favorites

It’s so hard to choose, but I’d have to say my favorite flavor is the chocolate chip cookies. They’re also Vivienne’s favorite!

Where can we get our cookie fix?

Our cookies are in-store in Target nationwide, using drive-up on the app and online. You can find the full assortment on the Partake site or on Amazon. You can also find Partake at Wegmans, Sprouts, The Fresh Market, and select Whole Foods. To find out which stores in your area carry Partake, use the Store Locator in the Spokin app.


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