#2 Angela Mavridis – TRIBALI Founder Nutritionist
Angela Mavridis Podcast Transcript
Neil Dudley: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Pederson’s Natural Farms Podcast. We are so excited you’re here. We look forward to sharing all about this beautiful industry of better-for-you-food, meat, protein. We call the podcast Pederson’s Natural Farms Podcast Powered by Protein because we’re going to talk all things bacon, sausage, ham, consumers, customers, vendors that support our business, employees that make us what we are, and peers, people that are in the industry competing for your attention and your dollar. And we think that’s healthy and we’re proud of them, so we want to share about them as well. Thank you so much for joining us. Be sure you tune in, don’t tune out, and remember, grab life by the bacon.
Hey, everybody, welcome to the Pederson’s podcast. I’m not going to go through a big introduction of Angela because she can do that herself. And let’s get right to the meat of this interview, this conversation, and ask Angela some questions, get her to tell us about her journey and what it’s been like for her. And that way we spend 30 minutes talking about good stuff instead of me rambling on about, oh, how much I enjoyed this conversation. Angela, welcome to the show. If you don’t mind, tell everybody who you are, real quick, who your company is. And oh, by the way, Ben Warren is listening in for anybody else. He might chime in. He’s the producer podcast. And he actually has ordered some product from Angela, and right before we got on here, they were talking about, hey, what about the new items? So, we’re going to talk about a lot of cool things. Welcome, Angela. Thank you for doing this.
Angela Mavridis: Thank you for having me. Absolutely. So, I’m Angela Mavridis. I’m the CEO and founder of Tribali foods and we are a frozen meal company. We started with burger patties, which you guys have been carrying at the Simple Grocer for a couple of years now, frozen meat burger patties, we moved onto breakfast sliders, and now we’ve come out with a whole line of prepared frozen entrees, and I’ll speak to those. But the promise of the brand is pretty much real ingredients, high quality, animal protein, and just good-for-you-food that that makes you feel good. It’s good for your body. And being that I’m a nutritionist and I was a vegetarian for-
Neil Dudley: I love it. I was so hoping you were going to say that.
Angela Mavridis: There’s a whole journey and story there, but it’s very important to me to vet my vendors, vet my ingredients and make sure that what goes in my food is nutritionally valuable and nurturing for your body.
Neil Dudley: Absolutely. That’s one reason we’ve been carrying your products on the Simple Grocer for a long time. And for those people that may not know, the Simple Grocer is a division of Pederson Natural Farms. It’s an e-commerce business that we started in order to get our products out there direct to consumer as well promote other brands that we think are brilliant and awesome. And the other thing I love about Angela is she buys pork from us. I like getting that PO every now and then. So, we want Tribali to do well. We’re all kind of intertwined within this industry and that’s one of the great things I look forward to highlighting through this podcast and this platform. By the way, we will be on YouTube. Hi, everybody out there on YouTube. I’m waving to the other camera I’ve got set up here in the room just to make sure this content has a chance to get to people because I think consumers want to know. Matter of fact, one of our conversation starters goes something like this: consumers in today’s market seem to be very interested in knowing a lot about the food they eat as well as the people and the companies that make that food. What’s your take on that?
Angela Mavridis: Right. And along those lines, Neil, I think there’s a lot of confusion as well. Confusion coming from what foods should we be eating? I mean, one day eggs are bad for you, one day eggs are good for you. One day sugar is the devil, the next day, small amounts is acceptable. So, there’s a lot of confusion on what should I eat? And so, part of my purpose as a brand and part of these podcasts too, is really educating the public because they are curious. I mean, I kind of call them the conscious consumer, the consumer that’s going to reach for that box and turn it around and read the ingredient deck. Back in the eighties and nineties, it was all about calories. Like how many calories and how much fat?
Neil Dudley: Yeah, calories in calories out, this debate.
Angela Mavridis: It’s not about the calories. It’s really not. Those calories, if they are made up of high-quality protein, good-for-you fat, and the carbohydrates that you can convert to energy, the calories really should not be the main concern. Someone should pick up that box, and what we’re trying to educate people on is what is in that ingredient deck. And when it looks like a science project and there’s unidentifiable words and phrases, and that’s the kind of food that we should not be consuming. If things can be found in your pantry or in your refrigerator or your freezer or in your spice rack or things that you can make from scratch, that’s the kind of food that we should be consuming. And I’m a mom of three and I love to cook for my kids and my family. And I’ve come from a restaurant background. You’ve met the brothers too. We run and operate about seven restaurants in and around the Los Angeles area. So, I grew up with food, plus I’m from a Greek traditional family. So, every conversation, every gathering centers around a big meal. But there are times in our busy lifestyle that we do not have, I don’t have time to prepare the kind of meal I want. So, there are instances where I reach for that packaged food, and it’s okay to have the frozen package or something in a bag or something in a box or something in a pouch. But again, turn that box around and just make sure what you’re consuming is good for you. Bottom line.
Neil Dudley: Absolutely. If you care about that, and what I think we’re also doing is encouraging you to care about it. I think a lot of people just haven’t had the exposure to the idea that it would help them a bunch to care about it. Tell us a little bit about why did you, or have you always wanted to be a nutritionist? I mean, what got you on that path? And I think it makes you a really great guest, a good person with lots of insight into the importance of food because you’ve done that studying.
Angela Mavridis: Right. And I do feel that anything that ails you, before you stick some medicine as a Band-Aid on there, start with your plate. I mean, just start there and see if you could do a test for one person. Eliminate and put back in, whether it’s dairy or gluten or whatever product-
Neil Dudley: You’re making me want to stop you real quick because these episodes, the first five episodes we’re doing launching this podcast are Whole 30 themed. I know you’re very familiar with Whole30.
Angela Mavridis: I was just going to bring that up. Absolutely. So, and if you’re confused on how to do this n=1 experiment, start with the Whole30. And the Whole30 is a 30-day elimination of all the irritating and ingredients that can cause inflammation in your body. And the only way you can get to- what affects me, Neil, is not going to affect you. So, the only way you could get to that journey and understanding is to do an n=1 experiment on yourself. So Whole30 is a great way to start.
Neil Dudley: Now, you just said something, n=1. I don’t, I’m not familiar with that. What is it?
Angela Mavridis: That’s just I’m doing it on me, it’s an experiment that I’m doing on myself.
Neil Dudley: Oh, okay, I gotcha. So, the experiment is on- Okay, cool. Well, hey, I learned something. See, listen everybody, I’m here to learn too. I mean, Ben is super excited. I know this just from talking to him, he’s like, man, I can’t wait to get in on these podcasts because there’s so much knowledge. Even people in the industry, like I live this industry every day, it is what I do for a living, I just learned something. I can always learn a little something. So, I just want everybody to pay attention.
Angela Mavridis: And there is so much to learn. And like I said, there’s a lot of confusion out there. The best advice I could give to people is definitely start with the Whole30, but there’s so many other like professional nutritionists and advocates of this way on podcasts, on the internet, on Instagram that are come from a functional medical background. And the reason why I say that is that that approach really gets to the root cause of your rheumatoid arthritis, your inflammation, things that bother you. That the functional approach is more let’s get to the root cause. And a lot of times the root cause, believe it or not, is what’s on your plate. So, I think education is a huge part of it. Part of this platform and part of my journey and what I’m doing is to tell people kind of how I came about to be where I’m at, but also educate people on how food can be medicine or food can be your poison. And the only way you can realize is by doing an experiment on yourself. And it took me many, many years. So, I was a vegetarian because I bought into the culture in the eighties and nineties of meat is bad. It’s going to clog your arteries and it’s going to cause heart attacks. Meat is just so bad for you, all that saturated fat. And so, I abstained from it and coming from a Greek family and my dad owned, back then, the first restaurant we had was a hamburger fast food restaurant. So, I was just blackballed from my family. Like how could you go against? We’re Greek, we eat lamb, we eat beef. I mean, it’s much the Mediterranean diet, which is a lot of fish and vegetables and olive oil, but meat is definitely part of it as well. And I abstained from it for a very long time. Although I did eat fish, so technically I guess I’m a pescatarian. And so fast forward into my late forties, it wasn’t working for me anymore, Neil. And I was knowledgeable enough to know if something is no longer working and no longer servicing me, what do I do? Let’s change it. And I actually wasn’t sure that that was a problem. I went to a bunch of doctors. I ended up going to therapy, like what is wrong? Things were just not functioning as they were for so long. So, I did, I incorporated grass fed and finished organic meat back into my diet systematically and in small portions. And my nails were stronger. My hair stopped falling out. My energy level was more smooth, because as a vegetarian, I didn’t know what I was doing. So, I was eating a lot of packaged food and not looking at the ingredients, a lot of high sugar, and I would crash, that kind of thing. So as a young teen into my twenties, I did not have the education and the knowledge I do now. So, along this journey, I thought, well, let me become a nutritionist and really know what I’m doing for myself and actually be able to talk about it to those around me. So, I did my practice, and I actually had clients where I would coach one-on-one on how to clean up their plate, really basic stuff on instead of losing weight, let’s just clean up the plate and things will fall into place once you realize what’s causing inflammation or what’s making you thrive.
Neil Dudley: Okay so, let me jump in. I mean, just because I want to get a little more meat off of that piece of the conversation. Well, first thing I’d like to say is, everybody, Angela is not the only person that will tell you these things. You can go find people that have experienced what she’s talking about – nails, hair falling out, menstruation problems, all kinds of stuff, totally due to diet. So, I’m telling you, you can trust her because if Pederson’s brand has any kind of authority or respect – like I’m not going to bring somebody on the podcast that I don’t already trust and haven’t already learned a lot about, so she’s a really good resource and listen to what she’s saying. Now, when you’re helping people clean up their plate, what is typically the first couple of things that you’re like, wow, we got to understand this is not the stuff to eat?
Angela Mavridis: Right. A lot of sugar and starch was what was making most of the diet.
Neil Dudley: And that’s what every company in the United States, maybe around the world, does. They put that stuff in there to get you addicted to it.
Angela Mavridis: And, Neil, there was some feedback I got from my clients that made me start Tribali. And that feedback was, Angela, I know what to do, I don’t have time, and I don’t know how. I mean, those were the big excuses. Like I know I’ve got to eat better or clean or whatever that means. I know, I don’t have time, I’m a busy executive, I’m microwaving my dish in the coffee room or whatever, and I live a fast-paced lifestyle. Or I don’t know. I don’t really know how to cook-
Neil Dudley: Well, I go to the gym, and I work out and so now I should just eat- I can get to eat whatever I want.
Angela Mavridis: Right. Protein, so I’m scarfing down protein bars, which are high sugar. Anyway, so those two things got me thinking if people know what to do, but they don’t know how to prepare it, and they don’t have time to do it, what can I make to provide them those two pain points?
Neil Dudley: Everybody, like yeehaw.
Angela Mavridis: Honestly, I just went back to the drawing board. What I grew up with was my dad owned fast food hamburger restaurants, which I mean,
Neil Dudley: So, you knew about meat patties.
Angela Mavridis: He’s not around anymore, and he would kill me for saying this, but they’re not the healthiest. I mean, honest to God, it was burgers, chili fries, shakes, all American, but the businesses did great in Pasadena. They’re still around.
Neil Dudley: Which I’ve had a burger from there. They do- at least the historical restaurants you guys had are still running, and they are great.
Angela Mavridis: Yeah, and people love that food. But so anyway, I went back to the drawing board and I thought, alright, what if I make these burger patties, which I’m used to eating, but really high quality, pork from [Henderson’s] the pork one, chicken, free range, as high quality as I could get. So, and I made these patties and I seasoned them with strictly vegetables, herbs, spices, and purees. I didn’t want- I wanted stuff that I could find in my pantry, like I mentioned, in my kitchen. And the funny story goes that I bought a refurbished grinder on Amazon and a white lab coat from a medical lab, and I was in the kitchen grinding and mixing these from lamb to bison to chicken to turkey to pork to beef to everything I could. My kids thought I was a mad scientist, like oh my gosh, mom’s gone crazy. But I’d make these, I’d stick them in the freezer, I’d label them, and then every once in a while, they’re like, oh, mom can we have that lamb burger that’s got all that great seasoning and spices and mixes in there? I presented them to Whole Foods, and they loved the concept, the brand, the story, and the taste of the product, and I was off and running. So, it came about because I saw a need and I went back to what I knew.
Neil Dudley: It’s like entrepreneurship 101. I mean, you’re a great entrepreneur outside of the nutritionist, a lady that’s a CEO of a growing brand, putting out great products, the entrepreneurial insight you have I think is very valuable. We’re going to have consumers of your product listening, and we’re going to have our peers in the industry listening to this podcast, we’re going to have employees. I just want to highlight that a little or even just get you to speak to that a little bit is what gave you that-
Angela Mavridis: I really think it has to do with like the Greek household I grew up in. Dad was a hard worker. He came over here from Greece at age 14 and worked his butt off to just establish the empire he did of like seven restaurants. And it had all started small, but he gave us that work ethic that if you have a dream and you believe in something, it’s not going to come easy. You got to roll up your sleeves and do anything it takes but stay consistent, stay persistent, and persevere through it. So, that’s just kind of the work ethic. I’ve always- I worked for a time in corporate America, and then I cashed out at this .com, I lived in San Francisco, worked in Silicon Valley. I cashed out and the first thing I did was open a shoe store because I had this dream of I want to open my boutique, I love fashion. Then I came down to LA and I opened a fitness studio because I love fitness. And I’m like alright, the third thing is food. So, fitness, fashion, and food are my three passions. But food, it was an easy transition because I did, like I said, I have my two brothers who have joined Tribali, and I had a lot of expertise and knowledge to draw on upon them. They brought in systems and all sorts of efficiencies in place to run this as a legitimate business.
Neil Dudley: Were those early days glamorous? I think for entrepreneurs, anybody that wants to build their own business, this is a great insight. Angela actually bought a used grinder. And she’s just, for the first, who knows how many years were you just building it out of the dirt, and you go, I mean, did you get to see Whole Foods the first time you contacted them?
Angela Mavridis: Yes. I actually did.
Neil Dudley: Wow, see, that’s a win. That’s rare.
Angela Mavridis: They wanted my product. And I will say that when I went in there and I said, hey, I’m the daughter of Tops, the restaurant down the street, they all knew my dad. They knew the restaurant. They’re like, “Oh, you guys are the burger people. We know you.” So it helped to have that, like I’m not some lonely housewife in the kitchen that made these like things in my backyard. I mean, they’re like, okay, you guys know what you’re doing with burgers. But I will tell you, if anyone is thinking of starting, whether it’s a CPG, consumer packaged goods food product, or anything for that matter, I think two most important things is finding your mentors. So, I looked at like, I became friends with Mark Sisson from Primal Kitchen. I went to the Paleo – I think that’s where I met you guys, too – the Paleo Conference in Texas. And so, I went to the industry events that have to do with what the category, the Whole30, the paleo community, all that. And I met the players that were 10, 20 feet ahead of me that have done this before. And literally I would ask questions and people were friendly enough to say, alright, you need a little guidance, this is how we did it. And then, a lot of times I didn’t know what I was doing, and we’ve made mistakes. And people said don’t do that. And I thought, no, we’re going to do it anyway, because who says we can’t do it this way. And you learn, you learn. Like you come back, and you say, alright, well, that definitely wasn’t going to work. So, each entrepreneur, each person that starts a startup in the food category, you do learn as you go. Nobody’s- my journey is not the same, just like my personal journey is not the same as somebody else’s but having friends that have done it before was very valuable to have mentors.
Neil Dudley: I love, that’s an example of networking, right? I always tell people, go to the shows. That’s been so valuable to Pederson’s, valuable to me, we go meet people. And generally, you hear about all these humans in the world are so mean, and I just don’t see that.
Angela Mavridis: People like to help people. And what goes, I believe like pay it forward. You helped me, I’m going to help someone else. Do you know how many people already have reached out to me and said, well, how did you start? I’m like alright, here you go, let me empower you with my knowledge. So, it was a personal like nutritious journey. It was a let me fix the problem I’m seeing that my clients are having journey. And then as we built our community and we speak to the Whole30-ers and I’ve built my Instagram and we’re on there commenting and communicating and listening, what I heard was, hey, we would love to see an all-in complete heat and serve meal from Tribali. The patties are great, but-
Neil Dudley: Nice segue, you sales lady.
Angela Mavridis: Right, segue, yeah. So anyway, we’ve come out with these wonderful meals. They are cauliflower based on the bottom, [Suvi] moist chicken and sauteed vegetables, and then these wonderful sauces that just bring it all together in this great flavor. And we were lucky again to have my brothers on board who have a team of chefs and an R&D like kitchen that I was able to go to and say here’s what I’m envisioning, here’s what my community wants, here’s what I’d like to deliver. And he created these wonderful, wonderful sauces. We have a tikka masala, which is really Indian Curry, but I guess we have to call it tikka masala. We have a chipotle, coconut chipotle, and these are all coconut milk based so they’re creamy and they’re rich. And they are a little high in fat, but again, like I tell people don’t fear the fat if it’s good fat. You need avocado and coconuts and olive oil. These are good fats that we need for lustrous hair and shiny skin. And so, lubrication all inside. I mean, you don’t need to fear the fat. It’s the bad fat that’s bad for you, the sugar, the high carbs, and all the processed fat. And then we have a chili, a turkey white bean chili.
Neil Dudley: Well, I happen to know they’re awesome. And look forward to- Now, are you selling those anywhere yet or are they-?
Angela Mavridis: We just got picked up by Sprouts nationally. So, they will be in Sprouts tomorrow, which is the 23rd. I don’t know when this is going to air, but July 23rd they will be on the Sprouts shelves. We’re hoping to get them over to you guys. I know you carry the patties, you just started carrying the Thai turkey burger, which is like great.
Neil Dudley: You bet. Actually, Ben, did you have something-?
Ben Warren: Yeah, I was going to jump in on that and I wanted to ask, more of a statement on those meals. So, I’m a big guy trying the weight loss path and trying to do some things. And to me, the differentiator on those meals was the punch of flavor. So, like I had the lemon grass chicken one yesterday and like there’s like real lemon grass fish sauce punch in there and you don’t see that in most [inaudible]. So, like what drove you to make that differentiation thing? Like what was the thing that kind of pushed you towards those and the flavors?
Angela Mavridis: Yeah, excellent question. Again, I’m about real ingredients. So, our sauces, Ben, are a little more complex than what you’ll usually find in the frozen aisle. So, they are chef inspired and created from real ingredients that makes it very labor intensive, I will tell you. Now, I’m realizing like, oh my God, what we’re producing, like the star anise has to be ground. I mean, every single little ingredient. There’s all this lemon grass that has to be like perfected so you’re not eating pieces of lemon grass, the basil. But I was always staying to the standards of let’s just use things I can find in my pantry. Of course, I’ll be honest with you, when you get canned tomatoes in a huge restaurant service container, it has some citric acid to keep it from like clumping and forming. So, there’s certain things like that, that I couldn’t eliminate. But for the most part, everything is just real pure ingredients. And like I said, I went with flavors- My palette, I love the spice, the heat, but not too much so, so that my kids could eat it. But I do love really flavor-forward profiles. So, lemon grass basil, I love Thai kind of food. We did the coconut chipotle, and we did an Indian curry one. So, I kind of hit all three. I’m sure there’s room for more, but those were the three we came out with because I though what can we produce that kind of- And I do like bringing flavors from around the world. As you guys know, I’m from Greece. So that Mediterranean Aegean flavor profile is prominent in my Mediterranean patties. The Thai turkey is Thai flavor. So, I love bringing flavors that I know are pretty popular from around the world.
Neil Dudley: Wow. Well, thanks for the insight. I think everybody else is going to enjoy learning that. Now I’ve got a couple of things I want to ask that- so if you’re just watching the industry right now, who do you think is really doing a good job, outside of Pederson’s and Tribali?
Angela Mavridis: So, I like brands that sort of that I play with in the same sandbox, if you will. Brands that adhere to the cleaner ingredients, the better-for-you products. So Siete is a wonderful example.
Neil Dudley: Oh yeah. That Garza family story is so awesome.
Angela Mavridis: Their family story is wonderful. I feel a lot of similarities in that. I’m from the Greek background, they’re definitely from the Hispanic, and they had an issue with eating flour tortillas. So, she developed, the sister Veronica. And so, they’re a wonderful brand. As far as like dressings and toppings, I love Tessemae’s and Primal Kitchen. Those are two, and I know Mark Sisson well.
Neil Dudley: Okay, that’s good. No, that’s a couple. Look, everybody, you can go find those things. And how can everybody else find more out about you?
Angela Mavridis: So, we can go to the website, tribalifoods.com. We also have an Instagram where we’ve been posting a lot of the new markets for being released in, all sorts of fun reels and videos of cooking our product. We’ve even got a TikTok channel, and I don’t know what I’m doing half the time on TikTok, but I was told I need to be on there. So, we’re constantly making different meals. And at the end of the day, I like to simplify things for people. And it’s you get a nice like pork patty with sage in it, the ones we’ve produced the pork and sage ones from Henderson’s, a nice little scrambled egg and some avocado for breakfast and you’re done. Like you don’t need to make things too complicated.
Neil Dudley: Absolutely. Hey, thank you so much for your time. I know you’ve got a lot of things going on. I enjoy every time we get together and talk. It’s not all the time, but we’ll bump into each other at different shows or-
Angela Mavridis: Neil, thanks for having me. And what you’re doing is great, just putting the word out there so not only brands like me can get recognized but the education of how food can affect your mood, your energy level, and everything is so important. So, I appreciate it.
Neil Dudley: Well, exactly like you said, we just want to help. Like we live this thing. We’re not perfect. We don’t know everything, but we want to share what we can note. We want to share the people that were related to. All of those things are valuable to anybody that might come and listen to the podcast. I had one other thing. Oh, by the way, we will link all of these things Angela was talking about, her Instagram, all that stuff will be in the show notes. So, everybody, you can go there. Everybody out at YouTube, hi. Thanks for listening. Angela, thanks for being here and go have a great Thursday.
Angela Mavridis: Alright, thanks so much. Bye. Thank you.
Neil Dudley: Hey everybody, thanks for listening to this episode of the Pederson’s Natural Farms podcast. If you don’t mind, go hit that subscribe button and check us out at Pedersonsfarms.com. Thanks for listening.
(1:20) – Angela’s background and Tribali
(3:39) – Angela’s thoughts on the changing consumer & wanting to know more about their food and who makes their food.
(6:32) – Why did you become a nutritionist?
(12:28) – How do you help clean up people’s plates?
(15:37) – Angela’s Entrepreneurial insights
(19:32) – Networking
(20:24) – Tribali’s new products
(22:24) – What drives you to differentiate your products?
(24:43) – Who’s doing a great job in the food industry right now?
(25:52) – How can people find more about you?