Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in food and beverage but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Meghan Barbera, Founder and Owner of Seeductive Foods, located in Jacksonville, FL, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Seeductive Foods is a small-batch, artisan, and woman-owned plant-based cheese company. Using a unique seed milk base and our patent-pending process, we incorporate traditional cheesemaking techniques to recreate those irresistible cheesy flavors without the use of nutritional yeast, inflammatory oils, gums/starches, or flavors that the majority of plant-based cheese contain. We strive to keep our ingredient list short, relying on fermentation to impart both flavor and important health benefits to our cheese alternatives.
We offer six different flavors ranging from classics like Garlic & Herb to bold and unique such as Truffle & Peppercorn, to Olive & Black Garlic. Our products are certified vegan, dairy-free, nut-free, soy free, and gluten-free. Whether our customers are plant-based, have dietary restrictions, or are just looking for something new, we're on a mission to make plant-based eating more attainable and desirable for everyone!
Tell us about yourself
My passion for food came at an early age. Whether it was my Fisher-Price Play Kitchen or Easy-Bake Oven, I was hooked. Growing up, you could often find me in the kitchen trying to recreate dishes from restaurants or experimenting with a new ingredient found on a trip to the grocery store. I earned my degree in Culinary Science from Drexel University, where I was able to learn from some of the top chefs and industry professionals in the country. Both during and after college, I spent time working in restaurants and corporate food manufacturing which led me to become increasingly disillusioned with the food industry.
I recognized my calling was to develop my own healthier alternatives based on wholesome ingredients and innovative flavors. As a life-long flexitarian, the final catalyst for my switch to veganism came in 2019 when I traveled to India to study Ayurveda. Here the vision for our seed-based cheese alternatives was planted, and I launched Seeductive Foods in April 2020.
I was inspired to start Seeductive Foods as a way to couple my abilities in the food industry with my passion for animal welfare. Beyond that, I'm driven by the kind words of my customers. Eating can be a challenge for so many people, especially for those with restricted diets, so I love knowing that I can offer a solution to make their everyday life easier.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
I would say my biggest accomplishment is scaling my brand from selling at my local farmer's market to having the opportunity to be sold at major grocery chains and distributors. With such a unique product, there are not a lot of resources on how to grow our manufacturing processes, so I've overcome many challenges and hurdles to meet the growing demand. I'm also very proud that our process is currently patent-pending!
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Just when you think things will be smooth sailing, a new challenge arises! One of the hardest things that comes with being a solo entrepreneur is the level of responsibility that it bears. From critical decision-making to managing the day-to-day operations, it all falls on my shoulders. I like to think that CEO should stand for Chief Everything Officer.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Success doesn't happen overnight, it can take time to build your business, and it's important not to get discouraged.
- Don't doubt yourself, be your own biggest fan, and believe in your products.
- Always ask questions and be careful who you bring into your team. If something or someone seems too good to be true, they probably are.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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