Establishing allergen-free meals her whole family could enjoy became Mayra Robayo’s top priority when her youngest child was diagnosed with life-threatening food allergies four years ago.
And when her friends and neighbors started to rave about her recipes, Robayo’s mission expanded.
“They were telling me that I should sell it,” said Robayo, owner of Precise Gluten Free Foods. “I was like ‘Really?’ But then I saw a lot of other moms going through the same thing and I said, ‘Maybe I should look into this.'”
What came next was a visit to the Stony Brook Small Business Development Center, where an adviser helped Robayo get all her ducks in a row to create her organic, gluten free packaged food business.
“I found a lady there that guided me through everything,” said Robayo, 37, who previously worked as a marketing manager for 10 years at a major pet supply distributor. “I learned all about the FDA regulations, how to package the food and how it should be labelled.”
The mother of three explained that Precise GF uses carefully selected, high quality ingredients. She said her company was founded to address the need for gluten free products that are also soy and nut free.
The result is a guilt-free, healthy and delicious assortment of pancake, cookie and muffin mixes.
Precise GF products are sold at Cornucopia and Fancy Nancy Country Store in Sayville, the new Fresh Food Supermarket in Oakdale and Sherry’s Market in Babylon. You can also find them on Amazon and on the Precise GF website.
Now, if she can only get her products onto the shelves of Whole Foods Market.
“That’s my goal — selling at Whole Food Market,” she said. “But I need to be in more small stores first.”
So far, Robayo has relied on “knocking on doors” herself to get her products in local stores. But she now has her heart set on hiring a food broker.
“It hasn’t been easy. It’s hard to get your products in stores without using a food broker,” she said. “Unless you’re a broker, they don’t really look at you.”
Robayo notes that as her family continues to manage her daughter’s allergies, the youngster remains “our hero and the inspiration behind Precise GF.”
”The amount of products that are free of the things she’s allergic to is very limited or contains artificial ingredients,” Robayo said, recalling the days that led to the creation of Precise GF. “So, I began making everything at home from scratch.