Phenomenal Foods Co. with Veronica Blue feature #53 of Together Talks
Updated: Oct 25
"Together Talks" feature #53: Phenomenal Foods Co. presented by KLS, freight company
Some Background on Phenomenal Foods Co.
A bowl of hot cereal changed Veronica's life!
The inspiration to start Phenomenal Foods Co came from her own experience after adopting a low-carb diet in 2015. Dealing with chronic fatigue for about ten years by that time and having been seen by countless doctors and told repeatedly that she was perfectly healthy. She resorted to experimenting with her health in a desperate attempt to feel better.
On a whim, dropping carbs from her diet on January 1, 2015 was the theory. The ketogenic diet wasn't as popular then as it is today. In fact, she didn't even know that "keto" was what she was doing. All she knew was that eliminating carbohydrates would make it easier for to lose weight, and by this time she was willing to try anything. The body aches and brain fog had become debilitating, and could no longer afford to allow this condition to keep her home from work, being a single mother with a daughter who depended on her.
As with any lifestyle change, this meant learning what a low carb diet would mean for her body. She needed to understand what supplements to take, and how to ensure she would have enough energy to operate without eating things like bread, fruit, and sugar. She also had to learn an entirely new way of cooking and eating. Creamy Keto Hot Cereal® is something she developed as a result of that process. She found an ingredient that instantly reminded her of Cream of Wheat (all-time favorite hot cereal) and decided to experiment with it to come up with a low-carb replacement. After a lot of trial and error in the kitchen, she eventually had something that tasted great and was surprisingly filling. (A feeling that can be illusive on a ketogenic diet.)
Loving hot cereal as a child, but as an adult, the carbs were too high for her. She found a holistic doctor at Cleveland Clinic's Center for Integrative Medicine where she tested positive for a non-gluten wheat allergy and an overgrowth of yeast (candida) in her gut. At this point, Cream of Wheat just wasn’t an option for Veronica anymore. As the ketogenic lifestyle became more popular, she knew she wasn’t the only one missing hot cereal, so she made it her job to learn everything she could about the food industry and bring Creamy Keto Hot Cereal to market.
We started out our chat with Veronica asking if there was meaning behind the name of the company, she told us how difficult it is choosing a name in the food industry. Coming from a marketing background, Veronica tried to balance all the factors that go into a name (creativity, impact, uniqueness, easy to remember/understand), after combing through ideas she ultimately came back to one thing, the product it self was...phenomenal. She told us, "you know what, let's just go with exactly what it is, phenomenal". And thus, Phenomenal Foods Co. was born.
Currently, Creamy Keto Hot Cereal is available on Amazon. It will also be available in Meijer’s new Fairfax Market, opening on the campus of the Cleveland Clinic, as well as other major grocers in the Midwest region. Using her background in marketing, specifically SEO, Veronica told us she understands how important it is her to have website for a company, but she purposefully has held off on launching until bringing a manufacturing partner fully onboard.
Until then find them on Amazon, where they launched in 2021, it is available in three delicious flavors: Original, Cinnamon Bun and Blueberry.
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About Creamy Keto Hot Cereal
It's creamy. It's delicious. It's low in net carbs and high in nutrition.
At Phenomenal Foods Co. we share a passion for making great-tasting foods that support your nutritional lifestyle. Keto, paleo, gluten-free or vegan, they provide you with delicious, all-natural foods made with simple ingredients you can trust.
Yep… you can eat hot cereal again!
Veronica shared that the major difference between Creamy Keto Hot Cereal® and traditional farina, is that their product is grain free. It is also low carb, gluten free, and a great source of vegan protein. Their customers love it because it’s a seamless substitute for a food they grew up loving, but their bodies can no longer tolerate.
Evidence of the strength of product is the fact that Phenomenal Foods Co was just awarded $10,000 from Growth Opportunity Partners, Inc and Citizens Bank at the GO Entrepreneur Showcase in Cleveland!
Here is a video courtesy of Growth Opportunity Partners, Inc. LinkedIn page.
When Veronica chose to take her health into her own hands on New Years, 2015, she went carb free. Unsurprisingly she shared that around this time is one of Phenomenal Foods Co. peak seasons! She shared with us that she didn't create her product initially for the sake of starting a business, but rather she was experimenting trying to find foods that fit with her new lifestyle. She also had the urge to recreate foods she had lost as a result of the lifestyle change. Hot Cereal was at the top of her list. Their premier product line, Creamy Keto Hot Cereal®, is a delicious replacement for Cream of Wheat, a staple in millions of households made from wheat-based farina that's been eaten globally for generations. The major difference between Creamy Keto Hot Cereal® and traditional farina, is that their product is grain free. It is also low carb, gluten free, and a great source of vegan protein. Their customers love it because it’s a seamless substitute for a food they grew up loving, but their bodies can no longer tolerate.
Veronica shared with us, "At the time, there were very few packaged Keto foods to choose from, so I started experimenting. After lots of trial and error, I came up with a delicious replacement for the farina hot cereal I loved as a child." Veronica had found a replacement for her new lifestyle. Around this time she said Keto was starting to really catch on. She began wondering to herself if she could create this product for millions who are struggling from the same dietary restraints as her. Veronica dove in head first, learning everything she could about the food and CPG industry. A completely new industry for her, what would ultimately become her 3rd career! Veronica told us it is a lot of work filled with many challenges, but she loves learning and believes in the product, the message, and ultimately the solution it provides.
We asked Veronica what challenges she faces as she chases this passion and dream, she said it goes back to the challenges which are resources, including funding, people, and time. The product is what the name says it is, phenomenal, but that is only part of the equation. There is proof in the market and she unequivocally believes in the product, but stability of resources make the path not always linear. She joked with us that she anticipates something going wrong, but that comes with the territory of growing in a completely new industry. She relishes the opportunity to learn, grow, and expand her knowledge and experience. Because ultimately her business is about meeting the needs of the consumers who need this product and figuring out ways to make it accessible.
When things get hard, Veronica likes to give herself a quick pep-talk or reminisce on the progress made and the satisfaction delivered. She explained, "I'll think back on how much has been accomplished by myself and the company. Think about the reviews we have received and the impact we have made on peoples' lives. I've come this far, I can't quit. You CAN'T quit on YOURSELF."
Veronica told us that one word came to mind when describing the culture of Phenomenal Foods Co, "nostalgia". Her creation brought her back to when she was a child. Now she is hoping that this product and business will provide a solution to families for generations to come, replacing hot cereals with a cleaner and more inclusive option. She also told us how important it is that wellness is baked into the culture. She expanded on that both for consumers and herself. With consumers, it is vital to her that no longer are individuals being left behind by standard American diet. Restrictions are being addressed and marketed towards consumers as Phenomenal Foods Co. is advancing those inclusion efforts. Being able to help others the way she first helped herself means so much to Veronica. She also told us the importance of being the business owner, but looking out for yourself, "Doing all this work, it is critical to not lose sense of taking care of yourself too. It is easy to feel burned out, but you have to refill your cup. Nothing wrong with stepping away and waiting for the clouds to have passed".
Creating this product has already helped so many people and will continue to do so. Veronica created this product for herself to correct the very issue her target market is seeking options for, enter Phenomenal Foods Co. Because of her own commitment to her health, Veronica guaranteed that the company will always make it a priority to have a clean label. As we suggested, "comfort food without the downfall", (she told us she liked that!). Another example she provided was a group of mothers who have all birthed children that have genetic nervous system disorder called GLUT1 Deficiency Syndrome; a condition with symptoms that can be eased by reducing carbs. Many of these mothers whose babies who can tolerate nuts have substituted grain based baby foods for Creamy Keto Hot Cereal.
Veronica told us she used to think her product was only suitable for upscale retail and specified customer markets. But the more she thought of that, she realized her ultimate goal is for it to be available and accessible everywhere. She told us that when she talks to people about the product they "get it", it resonates, and it feels so great knowing that her company is providing the solution. An example of that, is the fact that Phenomenal Foods Co. has been granted over $50,000 in total, she joked there is always room for more :). Veronica told us it is very validating when other people see the vision and support the growth to expand the reach of filling the need and want for consumers.
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KLS wants to thank Phenomenal Foods Co. and Veronica Blue, Founder & CEO, for today's "Together Talks" feature. Stay up to date by following the Phenomenal Foods Co. Blog, here. Follow along for the Phenomenal Foods Co. journey with their social handles below!
Also check out where Phenomenal Foods Co. has been featured in the following publications below!
Klimson Logistics Solutions - Together Talks with Phenomenal Foods Co. feature #53
*Klimson Logistics Solutions is an Industry Leading Customer Service 3PL. Our focus and commitment to our clients has us striving to be the BEST customer service 3PL for LTL, FTL, Reefer, and Drayage in the country. KLS, freight company, is a 3PL providing nationwide logistics solutions. KLS shipping services include: LTL freight, FTL freight, Reefer LTL freight, Reefer FTL freight, and Drayage. Klimson Logistics Solutions thanks you for viewing our marketing campaign, "Together Talks". If you have any interest in being featured or questions regarding your freight operations please contact us today!
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We handle every shipment with the exact same process. It does not matter if you move one shipment a year or ten per day, you will receive the same level of customer service from us. When we started this company, we had one goal in mind, treat every shipment like it was our own. With our vast knowledge of the industry, we understood what a customer would want from a communication standpoint. We applied that process to be the standard here at KLS. Our reliability and being able to depend on our consistency is why we have such long-standing relationships with our clients.
Every shipment in our industry starts with a quote. We are firm believers that time is money, thus we strive to have quotes back in a 5-10 minute reply time for LTL and FTL, any FCL quotes are at the mercy of the carriers getting back to us. For LTL we have the flexibility to quote both off of NMFC and also Density depending on the carrier. Utilizing our services, you’re allowing us to use our expertise to class your freight accordingly to ensure we are providing the best rate we possibly can.
Once a quote has been submitted and a client chooses to proceed with KLS handling the arrangement of the shipment our full process begins. We create the BOL that will be used for the shipment. If it is a new location for our system, we will obtain all the important/special details (reference numbers, contact details, shipping hours, closed for lunch, dock/doors, etc.). We meticulously build every detail into our software for all future shipments involving that location. After we have both locations built and necessary reference numbers have been applied we will tender the shipment to the carrier. We use this method because it provides us a real time pickup number from the carrier to obtain updates prior to pickup. Our staff will either email the BOL directly to you or to the shipper (at your request) the minute after the tender has been accepted by the carrier. LTL carriers require a 2 hour window prior to close time in order to schedule it for a same-day pickup attempt.
The following morning you’ll receive an email from us. It will either provide the reason the pickup was missed (driver’s trailer filled up, driver missed the close time, truck broke down, shipper said no freight, etc.) or if the pickup was successful you will receive the PRO (tracking) number from us, along with the eta for delivery. Our staff will track it throughout the duration of transit and advise if anything happens that will alter the estimated delivery date. The day the shipment delivers we will email you with confirmation and the POD (Proof of Delivery), should you require it.
Your shipment has been quoted, scheduled, picked up, and delivered. The next step is waiting for the carrier to invoice us and make sure the rate matches up. If it does, we close out the invoice from the carrier in our system and automatically your invoice is created and sent to the requested party at your company. In the event the carrier has an additional charge on their invoice “Variance”, we will never send you an invoice with an additional charge without first identifying you of the charge.
Let us repeat, NEVER WILL WE JUST BILL OUT AN EXTRA CHARGE WITHOUT YOU BEING NOTIFIED.
You are our customer, we represent you. Should the carrier provide an extra charge on an invoice, “Lift gate, additional weight, reclass, detention, etc.) We notify you of the charge via email first. Second, within that email we identify what is required should you choose to dispute the charge. Again our goal is to honor your request, if you want to dispute, we will dispute. During a dispute we will provide you updates every step along the way. Once a dispute is closed out, whether it is approved or rejected, then we will invoice you as the invoice has been resolved.
For reference, our company only had 6.2% of all shipments go to dispute in 2022 and we successfully won 91% of those disputes on behalf of our customers.
This is our process for every single shipment you move with us. We don’t cut corners, we don’t hide from difficult situations. We believe in being available, honest, and transparent. We don’t ever want to tell you that a shipment is lost, damaged, misrouted, but it is our duty to notify you the second we find out something has gone wrong. We hate to present bad news, but it is part of the job. What you can guarantee is that we will work a shipment all the way through and turn over every stone until we get a resolution for our clients.
Our core business is LTL and FTL. Within these options we have options for both dry and refrigerated/frozen. We also offer FCL/Drayage options. Our company as a 3PL has nationwide options and services clients across the US.
Let’s breakdown our services more in-depth
LTL: Standard and Guaranteed CFS (Imports & Exports) Tradeshows Hazmat Anything that is on a pallet can be moved LTL. Typically LTL is up to 10 pallets, but the sweet spot for a carrier is 6-8 pallets at most for an individual shipment. LTL quotes are good between 5-30 days depending on the carrier. LTL can be quoted either via NMFC or density to determine the class (we do this for you).
Volume: Anything over 10-12’ of space in the truck is the technical rule for a volume shipment. When we run a quote for you we will determine if it qualifies for volume and provide you a rate if available. Volume moves allow you to get a reduced rate for larger shipments. The caveat to volume shipments it the quotes are only valid for 3-7 days and they move on capacity between terminals. If a terminal is backed up they will move their LTL freight first before the volume freight, which can lead to longer transit times for volume moves.
FTL/Dedicated/Expedited: 53’ Dry and Reefer 26’ Box trucks with lift gate Sprinter Van The main difference for FTL vs LTL is space and transit time. For standard pallets you can fit either 26 or 30 pallets in a 53’ dry van. The other main difference is transit time, for FTL each day counts in the transit time, whereas LTL does not count the day of pickup, weekends, or holidays in their transit time.
Reefer/Frozen: LTL and FTL We specialize working in the CPG space with food manufacturers. We regularly deliver to the following locations: Kehe UNFI Core Mark DPI Wegmans Cugini H.T. Hackney Netrition HEB ALDI Chambers and Owens EBY Brown Nassau Candy Harris Teeter Wakefern NU INC Long Distribution
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There are thousands for freight brokers and 3PL in our industry. Barrier to entry is rather easy and agents or owners will often hire sales people without any intention of properly training them. It results in high turnover for many freight companies and a forgettable experience for the client. We choose to operate differently through our consistency. We truly care about doing right by our clients and prospects too. While we would love to help provide our services to every company we speak with, that just isn’t realistic. We won’t always be the right fit for every company that moves freight and that is ok. Our authenticity as a shipping company sets us apart from the competition and that is backed up by our testimonials. We also run a marketing campaign bi-weekly called “Together Talks”. We interview, highlight, and promote two businesses every week. Our goal is to grow our network, make new connections, and learn something new with each collaboration. Check it out on our website and if you’re interested in being featured reach out.
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