“For more than 10 million American adults who have trouble swallowing, the average 28,000-product supermarket might as well be a barren wasteland. The typical store stocks just three product lines geared specifically for people with dysphagia, as their condition is known, and they’re all ultra-sweet liquid meal replacements.”
Reva Barewal, a prosthodontist specializing in restoration or replacement of teeth and other parts of the mouth, has spent six years developing a new kind of food for people who are unable to eat the traditional way. Experimenting in her kitchen in Portland, Oregon, she took notes at conferences and support groups. She then shepherded her products through safety studies and clinical trials. Her efforts led to Savorease, savory little crisps that are tough enough to scoop a dip and have been engineered to melt fully in the mouth—even without the assistance of teeth, normal tongue function, or saliva. Savorease crisps from Taste For Life LLC are currently offered in carrot, chicken vegetable, or snap pea flavors and also are sold with easy-to-swallow dips. When placed inside the mouth, the light, crispy crackers deliver a hit of umami before dissolving into puree and quickly clearing from the palate. They offer a striking and unique sensation.
After launching the product, Barewal planned to continue the sampling at Oregon hospitals and nursing homes. She managed to hand out several hundred packages before the pandemic hit. Since then, she’s been working nonstop, primarily via Zoom, setting up video conferences with support groups for people with cancer, Parkinson’s and Lou Gehrig’s disease. She sends the participants crackers in advance, and many of them later purchase more through her website, savorease.com. So far, Barewal has sold about 10,000 packages of crackers, mostly to individual consumers or health-care professionals.