About us

We take food allergies personally.

Our backgrounds and experiences of living with dietary restrictions directly shapes our commitment to stocking the best delicious and allergy-friendly food.

Our founders Dawn and John spent years juggling their families’ food allergies. Meeting everyone’s needs required daily vigilance to stay safe and healthy. That meant hours driving between grocery stores and scouring the aisles after busy workdays, only to find a handful of items their families could eat.

Even then, anxiety lingered. Due to a lack of transparency, they still worried about unfamiliar ingredients and cross-contamination in manufacturing processes that would lead to an allergic reaction.

Planning for family meals meant fear and trepidation rather than togetherness and fun.

Meanwhile, Dawn and John couldn’t find trustworthy resources to connect families like theirs with safe, high-quality culinary options. Thus, they created their own.

Our goal is restoring transparency and trust in the food industry. Grocery shopping shouldn’t be a puzzle, much less a game of chance. Whether you’re caring for your own needs, your child’s, or your partner’s, we know your struggle, and we aim to take the burden off your plate—replacing it with new tasty, care-free ingredients that meet your dietary needs.

To make shopping easier, we’ve introduced the following features:

Discovery boxes – Your family’s go-to options for breakfast, midday snacks, and light lunches. To help you taste-test, we’ve assembled allergen-free Discovery Boxes with the best available foods for people with gluten allergies, peanut allergies, and other dietary restrictions. Try out a variety of items, then keep your pantry stocked with your favorites.



Shop by need – With our unique search feature, you can shave down the time you spend reading labels. Check all applicable dietary restrictions (choose from dairy free, tree nut free, non-GMO, more). Then, view only the products that meet your specific needs.



• Ingredient explanations – Sometimes, when an ingredient is identified by a complex, chemical name, it’s hard to understand that it’s derived from a particular food that poses challenges for you or your family. With our ingredient explanations, you’ll get to know your food—the vitamins, nutrients, and history that make it a valuable part of your diet, and the potential allergens it contains.



Allergen facts – We know that people with a single food allergy are more likely to develop other sensitivities and intolerances. That’s why we include both ingredients and a separate “allergen facts” panel so that you can fully understand each product you place in your cart.



Browse by brand – We’re eager to highlight the game-changing small companies disrupting the food industry to provide transparency, innovation, and all-around delicious foods. Get to know our partners’ values, as well as learn about where they source their ingredients and manufacture their product.


With these tools, we hope to add a little more joy to your family meals and your life.

Now, let’s introduce you to the people who make all this happen...

Dawn Hilarczyk

For my family, food is more than simple nutrients - it is happiness! 

As a wife, mother, entrepreneur, business leader, philanthropist, family chef and foodie, I juggle my many roles all while thinking about the next healthy meal for my family. 

My daughter is allergic to many fruits and vegetables, I have a lifelong journey with GI issues, and my husband has developed a gluten allergy, so our love for food has been transformed into a painful and persistent inconvenience. This frustration has fueled my desire to create disruption in the food industry, demand transparency and become an advocate for change! 

My passion is searching for unique products that align with the DirectEats mission. My ambition is to create a better world for my children and their children’s children. My goal is to bring trust, awareness, and convenience back into food. Ultimately, food should nourish happiness, love and memories.

“Living with allergies is difficult enough without having to worrying about what you can eat!”


John De Marco

Engineer, entrepreneur, master of nothing with a boundless passion for family, friends, food, and fun. Breaking bread around a dinner table 3 times per day my Italian family meals were filled with pasta, bracciole, wine, and of course lots of bread. I love food. But when my daughter and two nieces began facing significant food allergies to wheat, potatoes and milk, a new passion became more clear, and I am committed to improving their lives and so many others.

Favorite food: Momma De Marco’s tomato sauce and pasta combo. Training for my first half-marathon in Nov 2020 (at age 48, yikes).


Maureen Mahlman

Mom, wife, basketballer, health nut, organizing savant, marketing whiz, gym rat, fanciful baker, creative, visual storyteller, and perpetually on the move to improve the world.


Mike Kline

Title-defying, efficiency expert. Nutrition facts and ingredient label obsessor. Whole30 attempter. Husband and father-to-be. Determined to not waste the sacrifices made by my parents and grandparents before me. Happiest on the beach with a good book, most frustrated when watching my Philadelphia Eagles. 

Favorite food: Cheez-its.


Theodora Hahalis

Fresh business graduate. Young visionary. The voice of reason. Fitness fanatic. Obsessed with fashion and beauty. Proud to be part of a big fat Greek family. Happiest with my aperol spritz, sun-drenched, facing the Aegean. Will always go the extra mile for others.


Vicky Magana

Born and raised in El Salvador. Chef and mom. Allergic to corn. Love sports and k-dramas. When not working on investigating food allergies, I spend my time trying out new recipes, or tending the backyard with my daughter. 

Favorite teams: 49ers, Juventus, and Golden State Warriors.

Favorite food: chocolate (it’s a fruit, right?).


Chris Holland

Dad, husband, love everything gardening related, proud to be a numbers geek.

Top goals for 2020: eat kinda healthy, laugh more, spend less time on my phone. 

Favorite team: Flyers.

Favorite food: tacos.