NKY Woman Turns Serious Food Allergies Into a Successful Business

CINCINNATI (WXIX) – The world changed for a Northern Kentucky woman when she was diagnosed with severe allergies. Instead of letting him stop her, she used the diagnosis to start a business.

Food allergies affect about 32 million people in the United States, according to Food allergy research and education.

Among those millions is Tickety-Boo Treats owner Abbi Rettig.

She opened the Newport business two years ago to focus on hypoallergenic desserts.

Rettig says it all started in her kitchen practicing different recipes after she was diagnosed with celiac disease.

“Usually when you hear a plant-based gluten-free cheesecake, one or two things come to mind like, ‘oh, I can’t wait to try it’ or, ‘oh, you better make me believe real quick,’” Rettig said.

That’s exactly what she did – grow a fan following of many enthusiasts for their next bite. However, Rettig says her success with the company came after she was placed in a dark, isolated space.

“For me, it was being diagnosed with celiac disease, being diagnosed with that, and then other food allergies and really learning to cook and bake again,” Rettig says. “And when you have a food allergy, all of a sudden you’re isolated from social settings, family gatherings, vacations, and that can be very difficult.”

Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease triggered by the consumption of gluten, a protein found in wheat.

Shortly after her own diagnosis, Rettig says her daughter was also diagnosed with an autoimmune disease.

“Taking a small child and changing their diet is a big struggle, and seeing them thrive on healthy eating is the motivation to keep going,” she explains.

So, she took on this challenge in her kitchen to practice different gluten-free and dairy-free vegan recipes.

And brought her cashew-based cheesecakes to parties mainly so she would have dessert to enjoy. She never expected her treats to become an instant hit.

“People were impressed that there was no gluten, no dairy, no eggs and it was sweet, naturally,” Rettig explained. “I mean, I think they kept challenging me like, ‘Oh, no way that’s true.’ And so I was like, ‘I think I’m onto something here,’ you know. You think it’s kind of weird to use cashews as a dairy alternative.

This is how Tickety-Boo, which is British slang for “everything is fine”, was born.

A term that Rettig says encompasses his company’s entire mission to make healthy desserts that taste great.

She also recently won the Aviatra Accelerators grant to help fund her start-up business.

Its products, including its grain-free crusts that allow people to create their own recipes, can now be found online and on the shelves of Fresh Thyme stores.

Rettig says owning a vegan bakery isn’t what she ever imagined for herself, but it’s a journey she’s proud of.

“It’s such an honor that people trust me, especially when you have allergies that you’re going to eat and not get sick,” Rettig says.

Rettig says her goal is to continue to expand into more stores.

This story is part of a weekly segment called Breaking Through.

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