As a kid in her grandmother’s Greek kitchen, Angela discovered the nurturing power of real foods. Today, her recipes are a flavorful celebration of simple ingredients — gathered from nature and seasoned with loving care — that make healthier eating easier for everyone. TRIBALÍ Foods seeks and sources 100% organic high-quality animal meats — from organic grass fed and grass finished pastured beef, organic free-range chicken and turkey, to natural pork — to create a flavorful, versatile, and nutrient-dense centerpieces for wholesome, satisfying meals.
Q: What inspired you to found TRIBALÍ Foods and what were the main challenges you faced?
The inspiration behind TRIBALÍ came, ironically, from my 35 years of abstaining from meat and fearing the practices of the meat industry. Four years ago I became a Holistic Nutritionist only to realize that there are some wonderful health benefits to well sourced, well managed meat. I then sourced high-quality meats from local vendors and created globally inspired flavor profiles with real, fresh Ingredients. I like to say, “Made with love in my kitchen, with ingredients from your kitchen”. The challenge was steep learning curve as a new company and, being that we are raw, frozen meat there were a lot of regulations and guidelines to learn and follow. There seem to challenges faced at every intersection and turn but that’s the beauty of being an entrepreneur and having “grit”. There is no challenge that can’t be overcome. Sometimes you just have to pivot and be flexible enough to learn from others who are ahead of you on this journey.
Q: Did you start the venture alone?
Initially I did start this business alone as I was the one with the “WHY” and the passion behind the drive. I had a good friend with a financial background and who proved hugely beneficial with managing the financial side of things. He’s still on board and has undertaken our operational side as well. Subsequently, a year into the business my two brothers, who own a hospitality company operating 5 restaurants, joined my team bringing systems, food-service knowledge and expertise to the team.
Q: In your opinion, what are some key opportunities in the food industry going forward?
The key opportunities for CPG companies is to educate and provide the consumer with knowledge to not only make a difference on their plate but to initiate change by voting with their purchasing power. As a nutritionist, I believe the most important thing you can do for yourself is look at the ingredient deck of any packaged food you are consuming and make sure you can pronounce and identify what’s in it. Food can either be your medicine or your poison and it's up to each and every individual to understand which foods serve them best and which foods effect them negatively. Unfortunately, the food industry is too often about making super palatable “franken-foods” which not only lack nutrients but can also be detrimental to our overall health. It’s time for a change and that has to come from the consumer!
Q: What's your business model, and how have you grown your revenue?
Our business model was to initially develop the highest quality line of products we could. With our products in place, we sought to introduce our initial SKUs into key west coast natural grocers and penetrate narrow and deep by building a strong brand awareness in each retailer. We also felt It is very important to build a community of followers and true believers. We launched our direct to consumer model through our website and continue to build an online following through social engagement and newsletter communication. We’ve grown our revenue through product development (introducing new SKUs every year) and by expanding our existing retail relationships into additional regions, while strategically adding key retailers through our distributor relationships.
Q: Do you think luck played a role in the success of TRIBALÍ Foods?
I think all success is a combination of luck (being at the right place in the right time), hard work, persistence and, above all, passion. We happen to have presented to our first retailer, Whole Foods, prior to the Amazon merge during a time when local buyers were able to make regional decisions. Since then, buying decisions within their organization have changed. I also believe the time is now for “better-for-you” brands with a mission and a message. Consumers are becoming more aware and conscious of where their food comes from, what’s in it and how it effects them. We are positioned to address these concerns and can back them up by not only having a short list of identifiable “nutrient-rich” ingredients but also through our various health claims: Whole30 Approved, Paleo Certified, and Gluten/Soy/Dairy Free.
Q: What are your goals for the future?
My goals are, first and foremost, to continue using my brand and platform to educate and address issues as they pertain to the production and consumption of food. My company’s mission has always been to consider the environment, the animal and the consumer when developing our products. For the near future, we plan on staying in the freezer aisle. We will be launching a complete line of further prepared frozen meals in 2021. Our long term goal is to strategically find a financial partner who can help us expand and grow our brand to a level where we are making a difference on everyone’s plate.
Q: If you had to start over, what would you do differently?
If I had to start over, I would have grown my brand early on at a more methodical rate and probably not have spread ourselves as thin by taking on some national retailers that liked our brand as a gauge of their shoppers’ preferences. We would have been better served to have approached these retailers when we were more established and had some leverage. Having said that, we also learned a lot about how to scale and about our consumer. You have to take each failure as an opportunity to learn and find the silver lining.
Q: Can you talk about one woman who has impacted your life?
I would have to mention my grandmother here. She was an example of hard work and dedication. Without her, I don’t think I would have been introduced to the healing powers of real food. She would make us homemade bone broth before it was a thing. She knew how to nurture us through food. Everything she cooked was either grown, gathered plucked or caught, and often by her. She used food as medicine and knew what type of food would cure any ailment you had.
Q: What are your favorite books?
My favorite books tend to be the ones which have uncovered the food industries lies and manipulations at the price of people’s health. Some of my most reads are: Deep Nutrition, by: Catherine Shanahan M.D., The Big Fat Surprise, by: Nina Teicholz, Feeding You Lies, by: Vani Hard, Inflamed, by: Shalley Malone.
Q: What's your advice for female founders who are just starting out?
My advice would be to have your “why” dialed in. If you have a strong reason for why you exist, your passion will shine. From that strong desire to succeed will come persistence and perseverance.I also highly suggest to find mentors who have done what you’re trying to accomplish and follow their lead. Get a few key advisors on your team who can help guide you along your journey. If your passion is strong enough, giving up is not an option. There will come times of doubt, failure, and negative talk….just keep pushing through! My personal motto is you must have "unwavering faith, relentless commitment, and extraordinary effort”.