AC and Kyle chat with Francisco Pergola of Cheddies
Cheddies is supporting regenerative agriculture with its cheese crackers made with regenerative cheddar cheese
In this episode, we learn about Cheddie’s origin story, why they decided to start sourcing regenerative cheese, and their big plans for the future.
🤒 Why Cheddies started by selling to hospitals and health clinics
🙈 How they snuck into HEB to pitch a buyer
😂 The coincidental demo that landed them Hy-Vee
💯 How and why they transitioned to regen cheese
⏰ Why the need to “age” cheese complicates their supply chain
🤝 How they sold Alexandre on selling dairy to Cheddies
🚨 The best ways to market regenerative CPG
🏆 The Cheez-It versus Cheddies challenge
✈️ Eating Cheddies on an American Airlines flight
⚡ Partnering with Redbud Brands
ReGen Brands Recap #20 - The Regenerative Cheez-It® - (RECAP LINK)
Disclaimer: This transcript was generated with AI and is not 100% accurate.
Kyle Krull - 0:00:16
Welcome to The ReGen Brands Podcast. This is a place for consumers, operators and investors to learn about the consumer brand supporting regenerative agriculture and how they're changing the world. This is your host, Kyle, joined with my co-host AC. Let's Dive in.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:00:32
On this episode we have Francisco Pergola, who is the cofounder and CEO at Cheddies. Cheddies is supporting regenerative agriculture with its cheese crackers made with regenerative cheddar cheese. In this episode we learn about Cheddies origin story, why they decided to start sourcing regenerative cheese, and their big plans for the future. Francisco and his brother Tomas have scrapped and clawed their way to their current state, and we're excited to have Francisco give you a behind the scenes look of that journey. On this episode, let's dive in. What's up everybody? Welcome back to another episode of the Regen Brands Podcast. We are fired up today to have Francisco from Cheddies here with us. So welcome, Francisco.
Francisco Pergola - 0:01:15
Hey, guys. Thanks for having me on here. Super excited.
Kyle Krull - 0:01:18
We're stoked to have you here for those listening. You know the the 1st 4 minutes of laughter probably have been edited out, but we are.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:01:26
Kyle Krull - 0:01:26
A fantastic mood as a collective here, and I think this is going to be a super fun episode just because of the general vibe.
Francisco Pergola - 0:01:33
I say keep it in. I'm a proponent for keeping the laughter in there, you know?
Kyle Krull - 0:01:36
I totally agree. Whether or not it's going to get there, we'll see. TBD in charge of these things. So shout out to Brad. So Francisco, you know, for those who are not super familiar with the brand, Cheddies, give us like a quick lay of the land. Like what does Cheddies produce? How many SKUs are there? Where can people buy you or find you today? Give us the lowdown.
Francisco Pergola - 0:01:58
Yeah. So in the gist, Cheddies are Cheez-It on steroids, but that's what we always say jokingly Cheez-It healthier brother helps people paint a really clear picture in their mind, right? So we actually have a third amount of the ingredients as Jesuits, twice the six times the amount of cheese. Twice the amount of protein, less carbs, just less junk in there. And I think the most important part is they just, they just taste better. I mean that's, that's what people, that's what people come for us for. It's just the taste.
Kyle Krull - 0:02:27
Yeah. So it's almost like the opposite really like Cheez-It are kind of on steroids and you know all sorts of stuff there that they don't need and really like jetties is like the Super lean rips, like I like healthy version of the we.
Francisco Pergola - 0:02:39
Are we're natural? Natural. But we're delicious. That that's our biggest thing, that's really our biggest claim to fame is just we're freaking delicious. And it's it's crunchy. It's just, it's the perfect snack.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:02:54
They are delicious. And I think the funniest part about the whole cheesy comparison is they have all the ads or they're like, we're the cheesiest, we have so much cheese, like blah blah blah. And like their first ingredient is not even cheese, unlike Cheddies whose first ingredient is what, cheddar cheese.
Francisco Pergola - 0:03:09
And it's regenerative, organic and we have full transparency of where that ingredients come from, which I think is is super neat. I mean no one else in the market can say that except for us.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:03:20
Yeah, that's huge. We're definitely gonna tap into that. We're definitely gonna spend some time there.
Francisco Pergola - 0:03:24
Anthony Corsaro - 0:03:26
Take us back, man. Let's get it kicked off. I mean, how the hell did you decide we're going to make a regenerative cheese that we're make a better cheese that take us back?
Francisco Pergola - 0:03:34
Where do we even start? Well, it's a disclaimer. I'll start by saying it's not the Super sexiest story it it has evolved tremendously from day one. It's a really, it's it's really bizarre. But I was actually finishing my Masters degree in architecture, so not not cheese crackers at.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:03:52
All I didn't know.
Francisco Pergola - 0:03:52
That. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, you know. Nothing related to baking, nothing related to food or business. Um, just grinding through studio hours. And my thesis was actually looking at redesigning hospital waiting rooms. Both my parents are doctors. Just scaring this horror stories, right? Just.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:04:14
This sucks. That sucks. They all suck, yeah.
Francisco Pergola - 0:04:17
They all suck. I mean, no one wants to be in a hospital at the end of the day. Yeah, yeah, you're doing something wrong if you're there. But so, you know, I I spent six months in in clinics waiting rooms, just doing research, and I became enamored with the food culture there. Oddly enough, there was a huge community that shared food, had dietary restrictions. I mean, that was like the main talking point at every single clinic I ever visited. And. You know the the reoccurring pattern was that you know these patients were needing protein and the only thing available at the time this is 2016 was a protein bars and protein shakes. The only proteins that savory snack on the market at the time was quest chips and I believe simply protein. So more geared towards like the you know workout community pretty niche market and you know that following summer.
Francisco Pergola - 0:04:52
We had some time to Moss and we said. Let's just do a really crazy experiment and see if we were to make like a cheese cracker cheese flavored snack packed with protein that the dietitians would approve of, what what angle do we have into getting into their dietary program? That was the original business idea was, you know, becoming this dietitian approved healthy snack and it it worked like it started it sort of take off like. They were. We were selling door to door.
Francisco Pergola - 0:05:55
We were making a couple thousand a month. Like enough to get us, you know, motivated. We're we're still in college really. This is, this is I gotta.
Kyle Krull - 0:06:06
Pause. I'm so like this. This is so crazy to me. And was the target market you were shooting for like? Hospitals like were you selling the healthcare in clinics?
Francisco Pergola - 0:06:14
Yeah, it was. It was hospitals. And really our, our, our, our main client was the dietitians because they were the ones that approved of all the snacks that were coming in and out of their program. And those snacks would then be given to their patients for free. So we had to win over the Dietitian's hearts, which, you know, we were in there, we were, we were, we were serving them. Nobody else was doing that. So it was an untapped market that was up for grabs and the patients and the dietitians. Loved getting attention. So unfortunately that got shut down like 8 months down the line. If there's so much red tape in medical, it's it's owned by like the big conglomerates. And so when they got caught wind of this happening, they're just like Nope, can't have and there's coming in and selling directly to our clinics. So we had, we had gained enough of a following there. We were servicing about 60 clinics in San Antonio each that we're ordering on a weekly basis from us. Wow. Yeah. And they were requesting that we still send them Cheddies and we're, we're figuring out how we could do it. So we said.
Francisco Pergola - 0:07:06
Let's just get into HEB, which is the largest retailer here in the South. It'll be easy, right. Like we have a clientele. We have a product. We went to the buyer. We actually knocked on her door on the campus. She was, she was, she was like who are you? Like we so cheese crackers and we want to be in your stores. And she was like, OK, so does like 10,000 other you know, people. So like after months of like insisting that we were the next greatest thing, she finally reviewed the product and.
Francisco Pergola - 0:07:31
I I kid you not. She answered us by saying it was the worst brand. She's had come through her desk in a long time. Ohh yeah, she said the product sucked ass and there's so much work to be done. Yes, so much work to it. Can you even fulfill palette? You know, XYZ? And we were just like Nope, Nope, Nope. And so she said.
Francisco Pergola - 0:08:01
You know when you have anything that's even remotely worth presenting this comeback and so we did like she gave us a a checklist of things that she's looking for and in a year's time we came back with a potential manufacturing partner. You know how we would scale, we, we we reamp the the brands. And she came back and she still said no. But she liked the progress. So that was that was that was this. That was kind of heartbreaking. But we shortly after that got into an accelerated program called the DFA, the dairy Farmers of America. And because, you know, our most prized possession about our snack is the cheese. It made it made sense, that accelerator program.
Francisco Pergola - 0:08:45
And that summer we pitched to the Kansas City community, you know investors and and business community and a couple local newspapers picked it up and the Hyvee buyer hyvee is like a large retailer in the Midwest size and. They picked us up. They were our first client, that was. I'm I'm over overly simple simplifying that story because.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:09:43
That's really grateful, man. You're you're underselling the hell out of that story one. So it's a very good story, even though you said it wasn't shout out to hyvee because.
Francisco Pergola - 0:09:54
Shout out to hyvee.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:09:55
People, people think, you know, the Midwest is is sleepy and not innovative and you're talking about them taking a risk on you. We had Tucker Flinchy saying they're carrying, you know they're plant based pork, but dude, a couple a couple major lessons. It just came out of what you just shared, right? One. Yeah. You can't be scared to fail. Like you gotta fail your way to success. Like, you guys don't know what you're doing, but you went in there and you found out exactly what you needed to do. Yeah. And the other one was, I forgot it. What was it?
Francisco Pergola - 0:10:26
Well, so the main thing was just that like the the Hyvee buyer I have to tell the story because it's actually quite funny. We we were we were also just banging on his door right. Keep in mind at the at the time when we were presenting to all these retailers we we had no solutions like we couldn't actually make the cracker we we couldn't we didn't have a scale. We didn't have the funding for it like nothing like we were we were selling a promise really we were selling the brand and. We we had gone in touch with the higher buyer through range me and no response. We sent them samples. And what triggered him was that actually when he saw the newspaper ad? That that just was a coincidence. But he put him out in the lobby for the employees to try, and apparently his boss, the the category manager for all grocery, took him home and put him in his pantry. And according to the story, his wife fell in love with Cheddies.
Francisco Pergola - 0:11:10
It went to Hyvee to buy cherries. And when she found out that they weren't being carried in hyvee, she like got really pissed at her husband, allegedly. And like, and then the grocery, the grocery bar was like, you know, Brett, why do we not have these in her store? What the Hell's going on? And so literally he said, like, that happened yesterday and I'm calling you today at White. Let's get you set up. So shout out to the Heidi.
Francisco Pergola - 0:11:31
Category managers wife thank you wherever you are if you if you ever listen to this story. I'd love to me I will say you merge like you know we owe it all to you. Thank you. So yeah that was that was like our first break. That was awesome.
Kyle Krull - 0:12:14
Yeah, I mean talk about the power of the right audience, right. You get the right kidding visual to to become a fan. And I mean some people just have more power you know like decision makers significant other, boom. Done you know So what are the odds? I mean and. And the other lesson, and you alluded to a couple different lessons, the tenacity and the just knocking on doors, you know, religiously. That's like the moral. I mean, started doing it with the health care industry. You just walked onto the ATB campus, which is sprawling, by the way. I mean I even found the right door to knock on that place is.
Francisco Pergola - 0:12:45
Huge. It was like, you guys have a meeting here. We're like, yeah, you remember, you remember the door? I don't know. I can't. It was. It's with Christina. He's like ohh Christina. Yeah ohh, yeah, sorry. I guess maybe blurp out the name, but.
Francisco Pergola - 0:12:46
Ohh yeah. We have a meeting at noon. He's like, alright, this is like buzz us in, gives us a visitor thing, the whole thing like give. We give him the ideas like we're in, like we're in and like. Like, we're like, they worked, you know? I mean, yeah, it was pretty nuts, but like it got us in front of him, so.
Kyle Krull - 0:13:21
Right. I just listen to trees. Thank you. Tell you. Make it right.
Francisco Pergola - 0:13:25
Ohh fake it till you make it I mean.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:13:26
Yeah, the the thing I couldn't remember was how bad hospital and healthcare food is. And the lesson is that we need to radically transform that, that segment of the food system and people don't realize how much food gets consumed at those at those facilities and also people don't realize that. Just like Francisco alluded to, they have massive contracts with the big Food service distributors and the major big food companies and you really can't a lot of the time to get in there as an emerging brand or a local brand. There's definitely exceptions to that. But healthcare food overall is, is a joke and does not inspire health. And so I mean I love that the, the origin of the brand comes back to that because it's a major thing that we need to, we need to fix.
Francisco Pergola - 0:14:11
Overall, totally. And that's a whole topic in and of itself. And I didn't mention that while I was in the clinics. Like the the craziest thing I thought was that. You know, it'd be the Dutch dietitians would come out to the waiting rooms and they tell the patient, you know, don't eat this and don't eat that and stay away from bananas or whatever. And and they don't know because of the potassium and and. It's another world. And, you know, they go back inside to to, you know, out of the waiting room. And then and then the patient would just be like he would, they would turn around and they'd go to the vending machine that was in the waiting room. And just like and just like outcomes Cheetos, you know, and just like. So the epiphany there was like OK, if we're going to make a snack.
Francisco Pergola - 0:14:38
Like it can't be white packaging it. It's gotta be approachable. It has to be fun. Like it's gotta be flavor focused because really at the time, like 2016. I don't if you can recall, but like, everything that was healthy was pretty sterile. Like, it was clean. Very like clean fawn like white. And just like health claims all over it, you know, and this. And we said, like, what people actually care about is like triggering words. Like crunchy, tasty, cheesy, like familiar things that makes them feel like they're not going from Cheetos to an apple. Like there's got to be a middle.
Francisco Pergola - 0:15:17
Middle ground player and that's where we want to live. So that still holds true today. Hmm.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:15:54
I love that man. How so? You haven't always been regenerative. You haven't always had regenerative dairy. How do you go from breaking into high VHB to then becoming kind of regenerative and where you are today?
Francisco Pergola - 0:16:06
Yeah, it's a good question, so. I'll just continue on the story that way. There's like some understanding of how we got there. So we're rolling at that point where we're an HB or an IV. We're really starting to kick ass and pick up presents marketing. They're one of the larger food brokers in the country and so we start, we start gaining all this distribution.
Francisco Pergola - 0:16:20
And things are going great. And then like everyone else in this world, boom, pandemic 2020 comes around and it just starts to just all these things start to happen. Like the first thing was supply chain. People start freaking out, so they start over ordering ingredients. No one knows how long things are going to last.
Francisco Pergola - 0:16:33
You know labor shortages, logistics, things getting stuck at poor. It just like royally screwed us over in so many ways. We were constantly pivoting to stay alive. But one of the most challenging things was actually the cheats. So like the cheese market is really interesting like some years they'll they'll over produce or underproduce and some of the dairy will be made into like powders.
Francisco Pergola - 0:16:55
It just, it all has to do with just like market price and supply so.
Kyle Krull - 0:17:26
This is like generally commodity cheese, right? Not talking about.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:17:29
Single commodity cheese.
Kyle Krull - 0:17:30
The general yeah, commodity dairy recall.
Francisco Pergola - 0:17:32
Yeah. So at the time, at the time like really we were really focused on highlighting the fact that we are industry leaders for using like fresh cheese in our product, not just powder. Like everyone says that they use only cheese and like that's what they use in their product, but they're using. Butter cheeses like where are the only ones using fresh cheese? Like we grind it on site and wow a bunch of it into the mixer and no one else is doing that, so. So that was that that made a lot of sense for us and so we were just purchasing, it's still really good high quality cheddar cheese but it was, it was only non-GMO, it wasn't it wasn't anything else. And then a pandemic comes around and craft and all the like the massive players, General Mills all all the big players start coming out and they just buy all the cheese. So cheese is interesting because unlike you know wheat or or grain or you know if if you have a supply of that and you can mill it.
Francisco Pergola - 0:18:02
Um, I mean it's pretty readily available, but with cheese there's like an aging process involved. So, right, you can't just make cheese and then use it the next day. You have to like age it for for months on end and and we use sharp cheddar. So that's like normally eight months. And so all the sharp cheddar inventory in the country was pretty much depleted and we were like taking anything that we could, like we were buying a little bit over here, a little bit over there.
Francisco Pergola - 0:18:33
And so like a learning from that was like, we need to have control of our own supply chain, as crazy as that sounds and we we literally asked ourselves like. How? We're already crazy. How crazy would it be to make cheddar cheese? Like, Umm, is that something that we can get into? Like, how how unrealistic it is it? And that's where yeah, really.
Kyle Krull - 0:19:30
I mean, just so I understand, like the impetus there is that because you don't want to have to wait on other people aging cheese and buying like that finished cheese so you can buy dairy instead and just make your own cheddar so you have control of that aging.
Francisco Pergola - 0:19:41
Process. Exactly. And it's not Even so much about having control of the aging process. Just really having control like one stable ingredient that you know is yours and you know where it's coming from. And whereas before basically you, you would you buy cheese typically from brokers because unless you're buying you know, I don't know 40 truckloads of cheese that might be a gross over exaggeration but. By Lisa Truckload at a time or two. You're really at the mercy of what the broker has in stock and it could be coming from really anywhere. I mean, California, Wisconsin.
Francisco Pergola - 0:20:12
What have you and cheese? It's crazy, you know, because we I've seen. Like. So many different types of cheddar cheeses that are yeah it's we we have eaten so much cheddar cheese it's. When we asked her suppliers to send this cheese, they don't send us like a little like, you know, cheese strip. They send this 40 pounds. Yeah, like yeah, it's a freaking.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:20:45
Francisco Pergola - 0:20:46
We invite everyone but. So we said. I'm I'm a huge, like green thumb. I love AG. I was actually looking at going to age, probably architecture, and it's like a hobby of mine. And um, so like I I know what's going on for the most part in the industry.
Francisco Pergola - 0:21:01
And um. And so I said, you know, I wonder if there's anyone doing regenerative cheese that might be something that if we're already be going down this path we may as well just be using the best dairy you can get your hands on. That was that was the mentality it was let's get the best, let's source the best, let's see if it's if it permits. And that's where this whole journey started was. Who? Who's selling regenerative dairy, which at the time Alexander Family Farm was, was the first certified in the country, and so.
Francisco Pergola - 0:21:32
That to answer your question that's that's where we got into the regenerative space was pivoting in order to provide a higher quality ingredient to our consumers and and also making our our business more sustainable. For the long.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:21:58
Kyle Krull - 0:21:59
I love dogs in there. And buying their milk and making your own cheese.
Francisco Pergola - 0:22:03
Right. So we don't, we don't own a cheese manufacturing plant, but we found a partner and. I went out there and said I I stayed with the family for like 4 days and because I I had I had to pitch them this idea like you, you know, let us buy 8 truckloads which was the minimum that the cheese manufacturer needed in order to make a cheese run. And so I was like let me, let let us buy a truckloads from you guys. And on top of it, we wanna, we wanna pay you all a premium for your meal because that isn't happening. As of right now the only premium for dairy is organic. So it's, you know, it's either regular or organic. There's no one being paid extra for regenerative. So we say like we want to pay you guys more for regenerative milk because we believe that you deserve to be paid more like you're this is a labor of love, what you guys do here, it really is so.
Francisco Pergola - 0:22:33
You know, and so that that began the relationship. And I mean, they're just the greatest family really.
Kyle Krull - 0:23:09
Yeah, but I've also stayed at Blake and Stephanie's. Yeah. And one thing I'll say while you're there, you eat like a king.
Francisco Pergola - 0:23:16
Kyle Krull - 0:23:17
Francisco Pergola - 0:23:18
Gosh, like getting like 7 pounds I.
Kyle Krull - 0:23:20
Think things are amazing? Yeah, it is. It is a wonderful place to spend time, not.
Francisco Pergola - 0:23:25
Really. Yeah. Ohh yeah. Just like fresh cut thick bread and then like 8 pounds of butter on it that was just turned. Morning. It's like this is the once in a lifetime opportunity. Like when you gonna do this again? It's.
Kyle Krull - 0:23:40
Literally like their house is on this little St. and directly across the street. Literally like stones throw is like the cows. That's where they milk the gas. It's insane. It's absolutely insane.
Francisco Pergola - 0:23:52
Yeah, you wake up and they're, they're grazing on the fence line like it's a beautiful sight really.
Kyle Krull - 0:23:56
Francisco Pergola - 0:23:57
Kyle Krull - 0:23:58
Super cool. It's a fun time. Yeah. So, so tell us about that process like, OK, you got your own milk down, you got the cheese partner like? How many test factors did you have to run? Or was it like boom, like Neil, their first try, this is the perfect jetter ready to go or was that like a process?
Francisco Pergola - 0:24:12
No. So luckily the the truck.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:24:15
Loads, dude. Like that's a, that's a commitment like that. It was a commitment. You weren't messing around.
Kyle Krull - 0:24:19
Either not rolling dice.
Francisco Pergola - 0:24:21
It was a commitment and the most difficult part about all of this was that we didn't pay for the milk up front or the cheese. We were going to pay for the cheese six months down the road, so like. That's the tricky part, right?
Kyle Krull - 0:24:35
So it's not let me buy a truckload of cheese, it's give.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:24:38
Me a loan.
Kyle Krull - 0:24:40
Francisco Pergola - 0:24:41
Kyle Krull - 0:24:41
And then I'll pay you back.
Francisco Pergola - 0:24:43
Huge it was a huge promise right like yeah and we owe it all to them for believing in us but really like that was that was the promise was like we're we're gonna we're gonna put regenerative in the spotlight for like center store and she's snacks and like that's going to be at the core of our mission really as as a company so and you know luckily we we have great partners so. We made it happen, but it was, it was, it was wonky, I mean. Looking back at it, it's super cool opportunity that they they gave us.
Kyle Krull - 0:25:20
Yeah, that's incredible. So you've got the new cheese you got, you got that process dialed in. You start making crackers with regenerate cheese. I believe there was a rebrand that took place at the same time. And did you have to like start back from zero from a distribution standpoint? Did you pick HIV back up? Like tell us about that.
Francisco Pergola - 0:25:35
Process. Was a pain. Luckily, like because we were set up in unifying cahee and the the product dimensions is really like the biggest thing, if it deviates too much from your previous packaging, you gotta restart from from zero. We started from like about 50% so. Which I mean at the end of the day is like starting from zero but. Yeah, we we went through a whole rebrand.
Francisco Pergola - 0:26:00
We're still working on like how to convey regenerative to the consumer. So yeah, so when you like, it's, yeah, I mean even friends and family, I'm still explaining it today and the benefits of it. So I think you know and I'm really curious to see how this shapes from the consumer standpoint.
Kyle Krull - 0:26:22
Well, I mean this, this is pause there because this is so important and it's something that we talk about with all of the brands who are on the podcast is like how are you conveying you know the benefits of supporting regenerative agriculture from either an environmental perspective or nutritional density perspective. So tell us like how do you see that communication going with, I mean either friends and family or from like a brand perspective on pack, walk us through that.
Francisco Pergola - 0:26:46
Yeah, my mind is immediately going in all different directions since I still have it, you know, nailed down. But. The other thing that I just like over the years continue to see is that like food to a consumer, you know, is predominantly at the end of the day about flavor and the appeal of wanting to eat it out. It's corn, you know, like it may be it might cure cancer, but if it looks like you're about to ingest a piece of coal, like you can pretty much, you know, wave your chances of them trying it goodbye like it, it has to appeal visually. And that needs to sound delicious, like that's what I've seen draws to consumer to get excited about trying it. And so like from a regenerative standpoint like and we're you know we're trying to navigate this through today is. Like what is the most important thing about regenerative that can speak to the quality of the ingredient and the taste? Like better taste. And so it's, it's kind of working like you can either work back to forward or forward to back forward being, you know, taste and quality and talking about that and then oh, it just so happens to be.
Francisco Pergola - 0:27:39
Like the best agricultural solution today. And, and This is why, you know, you can choose like how much or how little you talk about it. Or you can start with like this is the regenerate culture. It produces the highest quality ingredient and it's, it's like great for the environment and the farmers are being paid more and it's, it's just like a better system and it just so happens to be like absolutely tasty and delicious. Like that's how I see it. There's other two ways of conveying that message to the consumer.
Francisco Pergola - 0:28:03
Yeah. And I think, I mean we're, we're kind of placing bets on people being more interested in like taste and then you know, talking about regenerative and as there's more education around regenerative, you can move that messaging up on your scale to be closer to taste and quality. That's how I see it.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:28:57
Yeah, it's going to be a lagging, it's gonna be a lagging value prop for the foreseeable future, right? And tying it to those other more important leading value props is gonna be super important and whoever does that the best is going to win. It seems like the people that have invested in a certification like you have are kind of relying on that moniker front of pack and then trying to have a blurb or something that's a little bit deeper on the back of pack if you have the space to do that. You know, we, we all know kind of the CPG game, what, what drives trial, what drives repurchase. But I think there's a really cool lever, especially with a product like yours, to invest heavily in sampling, right? Because you can, if with a little education, I think you can educate those samplers, people buy on emotion and then back it up with logic, right? So I'm going to buy on the emotion of it's crispy, it's tasty, it's cheesy. And then if they're informed about the regen ago on the back, on the back side, they're going to tell people they bought it for that reason when we know they really did it. But that's great.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:29:23
If we can turn them into, you know, evangelists on the back end.
Francisco Pergola - 0:29:57
Exactly. Or you know, it. It gains enough of a following to where like, you know, I was like, ohh, yeah, cherries are the best or whatever brand is the best. They're like the most delicious thing I've ever tasted. And there's this thing called regenerative. I don't really know what that is, to be honest, that I'm attributing this product being so fantastic because it's regenerative and so like, at least. That that's how maybe I see regenerative taking off is like products need to be. Absolutely delicious and hiring hiring quality.
Kyle Krull - 0:30:28
Like, I think it's a really.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:30:29
Kyle Krull - 0:30:30
Yeah. And and I think it's, it's fun to hear you talk about the story. I think you're almost using like the big food playbook like from a branding and advertising perspective for regenerative, which I think.
Francisco Pergola - 0:30:40
Is really cool.
Kyle Krull - 0:30:41
And I was just listening to a different podcast, anything actually posted about recently on tasting terroir, I think it's how it's pronounced and it was talking about, I can't remember the individual's name, but he's researching the nutritional density difference between grain fit or sorry grain finished, grass finished and then like multi species grass finished beef and he's trying to focus on nutritional density. And say, can we quantify the nutritional differences between these three different finishing types of beef? And the answer was yes. And one of the most interesting parts about what he was studying was, turns out there were these French and Italian scientists in Europe studying cheese to try to figure out what makes cheese taste better. And they end up studying the same compounds because nutritional density and flavor are directly linked. And it's, it's like a really exciting time for somewhere like spot on to your point is like, OK, yeah, let's.
Kyle Krull - 0:31:01
Focus on flavor. But real flavor comes from nutritional density rather than these added chemicals, flavors and stuff like that. But you throw on top of a cracker, right? So I think it's really cool where you're where you're heading. And the science is going there too, which is rad.
Francisco Pergola - 0:31:46
That's actually really cool. Wow. Yeah.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:31:50
The guy doing that research is doctor Steven Van Fleet. We'll put some links in the show notes to do that research. It's super cool.
Kyle Krull - 0:31:57
Not to be confused with Greta Van Fleet, who is heavily referenced to English. But the rocky, I mean, this is a scientist.
Francisco Pergola - 0:32:05
No taken. Yeah, OK.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:32:07
But also like from a either a packaging or a product color standpoint, you know, coming from the fresh produce world where most of the product that we sold people was just merchandise as itself, it's not in packaging, right? Like yeah, we used to say people eat with their eyes and so center store, you're gonna be in packaging. But then also anything else, the PAT, the color of the actual item, like I'm not going to name other names, but I go to Publix down here in Florida and I get white oak. You know, white out grass fed beef, and I've gotten some of the other grass fed grass finished beefs, but which one looks the best on the shelf every time and tastes the bells? The regenerative one, right? And it's not, it's not a coincidence.
Francisco Pergola - 0:32:45
I did a little, yeah.
Kyle Krull - 0:32:47
I was gonna say, you know, for those who couldn't see, as Anthony was talking about this, Francisco is pointing behind his head as he Cheddies box. Because front and center on the jetties box is not like the. I mean, the crackers there, don't get me wrong, but it's a massive slab of cheddar cheese. It is doing exactly what you just said. Like people eat with their or they shop with their eyes, you know, so you see this huge hunk of junk. Wow. OK, that looks delicious. Like, what is this that I'm looking at? And then you get to interact a little bit more with the package.
Francisco Pergola - 0:33:13
Yep. Yeah. And you know, it's like it's it's an ever going evolution. I mean, who knows, maybe maybe the cheese is the center stage, maybe it's the cracker, but, but I was actually pointing more to myself because I eat with my eyes, so. £3.00 of of meat on my plate and I have to finish it like I have to see the bottom of the plate, you know? But yeah, so. I agree. What? Yeah, we're.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:33:42
Francisco, what was the biggest challenge between just being a cheese buyer and then being a partnered cheese manufacturer? And what was the biggest challenge there?
Francisco Pergola - 0:33:53
I would say, I mean the biggest thing really, I mean it's again just being at the mercy of whatever else somebody has available for you and not really understanding what's best for your business. I mean, the end of the day, they're just trying to make a sale and for us now having to like procure our own supply, it's about. Really understanding, you know what Blake and Stephanie are going through, you know is there a drought, it's too much rain. Like what does our cheese manufacturers availability look like? And so there's there's a lot more coordinating now going on just to make the cheese. So but no, once you make the cheese, it's you know, you have it, it's there, it's yours, it's aging and like you can tell that story to the consumer which is something that's really not told in center store very often.
Kyle Krull - 0:34:42
Totally agree. So walk us through for the for the lay cracker consumer who is interested in Cheddies, walk us through the difference between a. Conventional competitor, call it cheese it. However, how they source cheese, make their crackers and yours and then you know, what are the prices differences there is you know a 10% premium, 20% premium. Walk us through the whole story.
Francisco Pergola - 0:35:08
Well, I would say firstly the biggest difference, and I would encourage anyone to do this, is buy a box of jetties. You can buy them online, Amazon sprouts, nationwide, HEB hyvee and like a lot of mom and pops growing that distribution. 5 Oxo cherries get yourself a box of the classic seed salt and then go and buy a box of Cheez. Its like I I encourage anyone to do this because the minute you try our product, it's interesting that you bring this up. Kyle talking about how. Nutrient density is somewhat correlated to taste and. And and then try our product and then try and cheese it and you will just immediately know without even having to look at any of the attributes or anything that.
Francisco Pergola - 0:35:48
Like we don't have to call out on the front of our packaging. Like we don't have to scream like. Real cheese and this and that. Like we do obviously talk about our cheese but the cheese that's talks about in like a humorous way. You know they have like scientists and they have the fine like quirky ways to convince the consumer that their product is made with cheese and like for us like you just try it like it's it's clearly like we put a lot of fresh cheddar cheese in our product and it tastes like it tastes natural, tastes clean a cheese it like if you eat a Cheddies and you eat a cheese it a cheese it's going to taste like.
Francisco Pergola - 0:36:03
Like once you once your palette recognizes what cheddar cheese tastes like and a cheese cracker, a cheese it will taste like cardboard. Like guarantee if anyone listening to this like you know determines otherwise. Like feel free to reach out but love to to your thoughts. But like that's the biggest difference. And then.
Francisco Pergola - 0:36:33
Actually getting down to the nitty gritty of like how that's, you know, how that comes to be. Cheezits are predominantly flower. I don't know what like like legally or legally cannot disclose, but generally we we believe it's somewhere in the ballpark of like. 85 to 90% flour, closer to 80. And then they use, you know, hydrogenated oils mostly because there's no fat really coming from cheese. They have a, you know, artificial flavors and preservatives and coloring like. They use fake colors to add to make it look like really.
Francisco Pergola - 0:37:11
Cheesy. That's that's another thing that like we're still exploring, you know, cause.
Kyle Krull - 0:37:39
Francisco Pergola - 0:37:40
Cheddar cheese and the rest of the world. Is white and in the US it's, it's yellow. Like we're the only country in the whole world that uses coloring in our cheddar cheese. So like there's no white cheddar and and regular cheddar, it's just cheddar. One of them just has color, so like.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:38:01
Kyle Krull - 0:38:03
Mind blown. Form we always bought just regular cheddar.
Francisco Pergola - 0:38:09
So, so I mean and I have to go back and look at when this actually happened, but like I think it was like. When they were trying to figure out how to sell more dairy in this country, and I don't know when this is like maybe this might be twenties, 30s or something might be prior to that but.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:38:25
Francisco Pergola - 0:38:26
Had potentially something to do with the war. Again, don't quote me on this, but they're trying to find ways to make cheese more appealing to consumers, and some scientists or psychologists or something determined that yellow or red is more appealing to a consumer looks tastier. The consumer. And so that was a way to spike sales for dairy. And so, like that's why McDonald's and all the fast food chains are red or yellow. Yeah, orange. And so, yeah, they started adding food coloring to cheddar cheese. And so like a big conversation, we have a Cheddies is like if we're all about being natural, right? Like we don't use any artificial anything.
Francisco Pergola - 0:38:45
Um. Like do we portray the orange wedge that's classically known as cheddar cheese to the consumer or do we need to convey a little bit more transparency about what cheddar cheese actually is that's that's again like borderline with? Speak how we speak about our gender. It's on the same level in my opinion, because consumers don't know, they just don't know so that. Do you do you fight that battle? I don't know.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:39:37
Kyle Krull - 0:39:37
Super interesting. Yeah. I'm like there's some podcast or something I would do a while back. It was talking about maybe it's a book I read, I don't know, talking about how humans and apes, the species of apes evolved the ability to see more color, and it was all about determining the ripeness of fruit. And because the rifle, the fruit is more nutritionally dense, it is, and the more bioavailable those nutrients are for consumption.
Francisco Pergola - 0:39:58
So when you mentioned like.
Kyle Krull - 0:40:00
Coloring the cheese. Maybe there's some correlation there where they assume it's like. Quote Ripper in some capacity, so.
Francisco Pergola - 0:40:06
It's like what fuels it's.
Kyle Krull - 0:40:07
Actually, you know then a pale fruit.
Francisco Pergola - 0:40:09
That's really interesting because even even with cheddar cheese, right? Like even with cheddar cheese like you can, you can tell the quality of the cheddar, say like you weren't using a coloring right. You could tell really what what the animals were eating because it's not, it's not like white white. It's not bleached white. It's not. It has like a hue of yellow because you know the animals are grazing. And that green will actually basically stain the milk to some degree, like it colors not green, but. I don't know. There's an interaction there that happens and so, like, it will taint the milk and that in turn like makes the cheddar look kind of yellowish. So I think maybe what they wanted to do was exaggerate that and make it really yellow to portray maybe psychologically. Maybe I'm just, you know, totally wrong here, but that's maybe, yeah.
Kyle Krull - 0:41:04
I mean, we're, we're way off the end of like clearly talking about things and yeah, we're too much.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:41:08
Kyle Krull - 0:41:10
Yeah, totally. We're in and that's OK. It's good. Yeah. The hypothesis guys like, you know, you know, respond these kinds of things. But just disclaimer for the listeners, we don't actually know what we're talking about in this.
Francisco Pergola - 0:41:20
Capacity. I'm sure Google. I'm sure Google would answer all of these things in about 5 minutes, but.
Kyle Krull - 0:41:26
PT Would be honest.
Francisco Pergola - 0:41:29
When did she start becoming yellow? And the why do consumers like it? Yeah.
Kyle Krull - 0:41:33
We gotta do that, I mean.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:41:35
So yeah, as someone that's had both I can validate Chetty ZAR in a different universe than Cheez-It. And Francisco's not paying me to say that that's that's 1/2 is you know, if if a company is that insecure and needs to prove to you that much that like there's real cheese and all this stuff like. There's prop where there's smoke, there's fire. Like there's probably something that they're hiding, probably something that they're lying about. There's probably some half truths there, but it's it's you know, it goes back to that. What we've been riffing on here is kind of like what from that playbook is like cool to use and like it's going to help us with regen and like what do we need to steer clear of and that that what you just mentioned first go about do we show the the orange cheddar versus like real cheddar. Every entrepreneur we've had on this podcast is talking about things like that.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:41:55
Different trade-offs and questions we're asking ourselves.
Kyle Krull - 0:42:27
Anthony Corsaro - 0:42:28
Building something that's so radically different from what we have, but also being able to fit into the current food system enough to get the traction and the success and all the things that that are needed and I think that's. Towing that line is like how we're going to figure this thing out. And it's not, it's not going to be black and white. It's probably very Gray and just nuanced and going to take a lot of conversations like.
Francisco Pergola - 0:42:46
This totally and I will say even just like on the on the on the manufacturer side of things now that I'm seeing. You know how difficult it is to scale a business. I I can. I can see you know why the bigger players have taken the shortcuts they've taken because it is really difficult to provide the same product day in and day out to a consumer. You know like there's there's a very small tolerance there where consumers are willing to accept differences and so like you know if you're selling a billion dollars worth of cheese it's a year which is what they have. They're growing year over year like you better have the science nailed down and and cheese.
Francisco Pergola - 0:43:00
Like our biggest learning with Petties is that. Cheeses are living and breathing ingredient. You know like one. It's the the cows are eating differently throughout the years. The fat content of the cheese is different throughout the year. Moisture level can be different like and when you're when you're multiplying 1 ingredient to you know £1000 at that scale it's like.
Francisco Pergola - 0:43:33
Any small little change can make a pretty, pretty big, pretty big impact on the manufacturing line. So like I will say like all the bigger players, they do use real cheese. They use like enough of it to to say they have it in there like on the ingredient labeling, but they don't use enough of it to the point where like. You know, they have to use artificial flavorings. They use a lot of like oils in there. We don't use any oil like all the oil we use is coming from the cheese, the fat.
Francisco Pergola - 0:44:15
Um, and like they they use. I can't speak to like all the bigger players necessarily, but like I've I've spoken to brokers where they've told me like yeah they they use this cheddar cheese that and we had used it in the past because we had another option this was prior to regenerative, but that it's it's basically like. Like it's it's heated and then cooled again to basically eliminate the need to to age the cheese to like 8 months. So it's it's like an accelerated aging process. Yeah where you're you're treating it with like you know heat and like natural enzymes. But it's just not natural. You know like we just sit you just let it sit in the cellar.
Francisco Pergola - 0:44:48
And agent, you know, like.
Kyle Krull - 0:45:15
Francisco Pergola - 0:45:16
So I can see, I can see. Why?
Kyle Krull - 0:45:18
They kind of Harkins back to we had Daniel Jensen with Big Picture Foods on and suggest about the accelerated curing process for 99% of all lives that are sold in grocery stores. And it sounds like BCBG is doing a very similar thing for cheese to quote, you know, accelerate the process of cheese. And again, she's not taking any shortcuts using real cheese. It's actually aged and it sounds like I I have yet to try boxing shadies. Shame on me, primarily because I can't find them nearby. They're not sold at my local stores in Bend. So I gotta fix that.
Francisco Pergola - 0:45:48
Change that, we'll we'll send you a box for sure.
Kyle Krull - 0:45:50
Count me in, man. Like Cheez-It were growing up like they're they're like get your own box to slogan or whatever. It was like that was me. I was like crushed with the cheese.
Francisco Pergola - 0:45:57
Oh, oh, some awesome. I did as well. I mean, we were big white cheddar family reduced fat, you know, because of course we're not we're not diet. That's getting totally help you crush a box of 12 ounces of cheese. It's, it's.
Kyle Krull - 0:46:08
Reduced fat is better. It worked at the time, but one of the points I wanted to make was that I feel and I have hope for the way as is. Society in the United States, we're trending with food, you know, I think that the era of. Commercialized you know chain food is starting to go away. You know like when I used to repeat it change back in like the you know 2007, 2010 era right. And that's when like Cheesecake Factory, Starbucks like the the big change were dominating the world. And since then I feel like the smaller like craft coffee shops are starting to pick up steam. People are more interested in local sink like a individually owned restaurants with like chefs. It's not about like that uniformity anymore people.
Kyle Krull - 0:46:24
Are starting to become more tolerant of variance and understanding where their food is coming from. And hopefully they can be reflected not just in the restaurants and coffee shops of the world, but start to like make its way into the grocery store as well so that brands like jetties and others can be OK with like some level of variance in their flavor over time because they're using these real ingredients.
Francisco Pergola - 0:47:13
You have to, you have to be flexible. I mean, if not, then you just try to become like the Giants, you know, just.
Kyle Krull - 0:47:19
Francisco Pergola - 0:47:20
I mean, there's gonna be, there's gonna be variances for sure.
Kyle Krull - 0:47:23
Yeah. I've seen that in juice, you know they talk about separation is natural with real juice and then just started to pick up steam. So you know, it's it's again I think that we're trending the right direction.
Francisco Pergola - 0:47:34
Anthony Corsaro - 0:47:35
For for those that don't know, Francisco said the name Thomas a couple of times. That's Franco's brother who started the company with and built the company with so. I'm gonna, I'm gonna take you into a kind of a double part question. Francisco is one, I come from a family business. I know how that usually goes. Talk to us about building this thing, you know, with your brother and your family. And then we, we ask most of the emerging brands, you know, how have you fundraised and how have you funded this thing? So talk about building a business with your family and the fundraising that you guys have done today.
Francisco Pergola - 0:48:06
Yeah, and I cannot tell you the amount of times I've I've told people that like I'm in business with my brother and my family. And the number one reaction that I get from everybody is like Oh my God, I could never like be in a business with my like brother or sister or whatever like that that that sounds so hard. Like yeah. And like yeah it's, it is like that's, that's it. Like it's, it's not any different for Tomas and I by any means. Like we have a really great relationship and I have, we have a really great relationship as a family. But I mean it's still super challenging you know like in and over the years.
Francisco Pergola - 0:48:14
Um, like we we hit a few. Um. Like critical moments as a family where we where we all literally just like we were in the living room just having a discussion. And yeah, basically like we need to find ways to like be become more of a family again. Like all we ever talk about is Cheddies. Like this. Cheddies is Cheddies that this is wrong. This is wrong. And then we celebrate. And the good times are, you know, not very often. Like there's more bad times and good times for the most part. And you know, you do have to have a strong relationship.
Francisco Pergola - 0:48:50
But I mean it's it's work like it's but the the upside is that like you know, I know Tomas has my back like every single day and also like for us since day one like there there was. There was never a day where we both thought we would quit on this thing. Like when the bad got bad like it it was really bad. Like it was that really bad. And we've had some really really bad times. And like we we've just like you know, we we have each other's backs and we would tell each other like there's no out. Like it's Cheddies is Cheddies is everywhere and we like, that's our main mission. Like we want everyone to try Cheddies. We want them to know that it exists.
Francisco Pergola - 0:49:40
That's like our biggest mission and and so like there's only one way to do that and that's just to keep on moving forward. So like yeah it has it's definitely its pros and it's cons more pros at the end of the day am I like it's we're closer for it.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:50:25
I can totally relate to all that. Work with my brother at the family biz and my dad a little bit, and I would do it all over again and I still work on stuff with them all the time. But it does present those challenges that you just said and it it really is a boundary. Getting right, you have to create some boundaries around our entire life and relationship can't be about this business that we operate together. But it's it's very hard. It's very hard.
Francisco Pergola - 0:50:48
Super hard. Yeah, it's it's it becomes difficult to enjoy like personal stuff because it's somehow Cheddies always screws back into the conversation.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:50:58
So yeah, yeah, yeah.
Francisco Pergola - 0:51:00
Totally, totally relate. And then the other question you was? How are we funded so the early stages, early days of Cheddies with family and friends? We did that for about a year and a half, enough to where we thought, yeah, I think it's the right time to go out and raise capital. This was prior to the pandemic. We raised $330,000 from a VC out of Mexico City. That was like securing our first check for BC was.
Francisco Pergola - 0:51:24
Man, I don't know what's been more difficult like. The manufacturing side of Cheddies like getting it to scale and like, you know, marketing that product or the fundraising part, like everyone, everyone talks about it like all the time. But it's so true. Like, it's, I mean. But we did. We we secured our first check. We had to go to Mexico City for it. We had a form a.
Francisco Pergola - 0:51:54
A new entity in in Mexico to receive money from there. And then we had a wow, I transfer money from Mexico to pay for bills in the US like and this is like all these loopholes that we're having to jump through.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:52:15
Francisco Pergola - 0:52:15
To like just it's so complicated and like one of the LP's of that fund is the is the government of Mexico and so we're just like. So we just received money from the government. I mean, it's like, you know, it's just so crazy and. And then the pandemic hit and then. You know it's just super tough and and but then so we went out and we. Got a couple other investors that were interested then we needed to look for, they were interested in the regenerative that was the biggest was the biggest change for us you know because we could say that we are the first cheese snack in the country that's regenerative at least the cheese is and you know like investors love to hear first only you know.
Francisco Pergola - 0:52:41
You know, they, they they wanna know that there's nothing else out there on the market like like yours because that's the toughest part is from an investor. And I totally get it's like, OK, I there is 50 other crackers that are wanting investment like what makes yours different because a lot of them taste great too. Well, this is how like we're going to go out and sell the product. We're the first in the market that has this and we believe that consumers are going to be looking for it, maybe not as much today but in a couple years. OK. I like that game plan and so like that took years to understand how investors.
Francisco Pergola - 0:53:38
You know, mitigate their risks. So that was a big change. And so we secured a partnership with a fund out of Austin called Redbud Brands. It's a really cool new take on venture capital where they have. Team that helps you scale your business. It's a a group of experts and a couple in a bunch of different areas of expertise, everything from finance to operations and.
Francisco Pergola - 0:54:02
So it's a, it's a joint venture and we you know they they help us run the business, help us hire people and. They are helping fund and fundraise. So like this partnership has been fantastic cause Tomas and I now have the ability to go out and help sell and grow the business versus being right down, yeah, fronting.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:54:40
Things do the things you actually want to do in work, work on the business, right? Totally, totally. We've, we've, we've heard great things about Redbud. Brian, what's Brian's last name? Goldberg. Yeah, Brian Goldberg is kind of. The the leader over there, he's the gentleman that sold amplify snacks or Amplify brands to Hershey's for what was it some of our Francisco, I can't remember.
Francisco Pergola - 0:55:04
Billions. It was. It was over. It was like 1.4 or something like that. Yeah. Yeah, it's.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:55:10
Very strong, very seasoned CPG group over there. It's awesome that y'all have that support. And you know, we talk about fundraising on this show all the time. We talk about there needs to be new funders and there needs new, new mechanisms of funding and so that new take. On VC we're really it's kind of their model seems more like an incubator than a true venture capital fund where they're really getting their hands dirty with you all. I mean cause I think a lot of investors talk about their value ad and the connections they have in the space and the things they can help you with. But like it's a lot more lip service than action from what I see. But these people have a team and they're rolling their sleeves up and and you know getting their boots with you guys. So that's that's great.
Francisco Pergola - 0:55:49
Totally. Yeah, yeah. It's been really fun. I mean, now, you know, kind of merging. The Chili's team with the Red Bud team, there's so many different dynamics there that like, you know, every day is every day is a learning lesson, you know? Just learning to work with someone new is always a challenge. But you know every day is is like is a really cool experience and we're all, we're all in it for the same reasons at this point. You know we want to see each of these. We want to see cherries grow and we want to see Cheddies continue to spread the message about regenerative agriculture. So you know we align and and they align on that as well. They're big believers and regenerative and having more products be you know cognizant of their footprint that they're leaving so.
Francisco Pergola - 0:56:03
Yeah, that, and that's that's what makes everything the easy, right? Like when you're on the same page about the mission, so.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:56:41
Francisco Pergola - 0:56:41
Yeah. So we're we're rolling, yeah, some exciting you things. Our biggest partnership right now is American Airlines. That's been just incredible for us and excited to just hopefully continue continue through that line of distribution.
Kyle Krull - 0:56:58
That you is that first class only or did the peasants where I where I get to sit in economy there and.
Francisco Pergola - 0:57:05
You and I both, man. I mean I can't tell you the times I've been just like, you know, sardines back there, like seeing the pass out charities. I'm like hey, what do you, what do you think? I will say I did. I did get upgraded one time. Racked up those points. And and I sat. I I was like asleep at first. Like, I totally passed out. And like, I wake up to just someone like, shaking my shoulder. And I was like, what? Like what? And I look over and like, there's like a snack basket in my face. And I was like, holy shit, I totally forgot that we could be on this flight. And I look and there was like bags of Cheddies and like all this other stuff. And she grabbed the bag of Cheddies and then like, three other people did as well. So I was just there like, you know, gauging.
Francisco Pergola - 0:57:24
That's all Russian, and that's really cool. Did.
Kyle Krull - 0:57:58
You tell everybody else was like, hey, what do you think of the crackers, you know?
Francisco Pergola - 0:58:01
No, I did. I did. I I told the lady next to me she was a sweetheart. She was. She told me she was 93 years old. She visits her her brother every other month in New York, and we ended up, I made the mistake of of engaging with her at the beginning of the flight because we had. But she's never grades regrets it's it was like it was like a. 2 1/2 hour flight. So OK, we we spoke for two hours quite literally, and.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:58:35
Like her to a great piece of LinkedIn content for you though.
Francisco Pergola - 0:58:38
It did. It is so funny. Hurt hearing aid kept them like getting all crazy and.
Anthony Corsaro - 0:58:42
Francisco Pergola - 0:58:43
And she like take it out like he's saying that again. So I was like this close talking to her the whole flight and she, she ended up taking me offered to she had a chauffeur and she she she offered to take me back to my hotel. She was a ball. Yeah, so good. That's super cool.
Kyle Krull - 0:59:01
Francisco Pergola - 0:59:03
Kyle Krull - 0:59:04
Well, what I I've gotta circle back to like. I think it was the very first question I asked. I don't even think we got there. I wanna talk about the future, what's coming next for Cheddies. But before we get there, how many skills do you have and what are the flavors?
Francisco Pergola - 0:59:15
So right now we have 6 views. We have spicy cheddar, classic sea salt which is so all all, all the all the crackers are the same base. And then we just, we add a seasoning on it, but it's classic sea salt, salt, spicy cheddar and white cheddar. So that comes in the 4.2 ounce boxes. And then we have those three same flavors available in a little .8 ounce. So those have been going into like we got into Google headquarters, you know, like we're not allowed to disclose the name, but like a big tech transportation company. The close, yeah.
Francisco Pergola - 0:59:55
I think you can connect the dots. Yeah, yeah, yeah, that that's OK. But you can't say the name now. They're everyone's great partners. We really enjoy working with everyone and the single serves have been have been awesome. We're in the we're in the works of a jalapeno ranch.
Francisco Pergola - 1:00:00
Yeah, that's gonna be.
Anthony Corsaro - 1:00:18
Good. Turn me up. Yeah, yeah.
Francisco Pergola - 1:00:21
Yeah, you know, little zesty, little little spicy, little tangy. And a little crispy and. And then as far as the other products like yeah, we're, we're still like you know we're really focused on the crackers because that's, you know, that's our bread and butter and but I think the Sky's the limit now that we have you know we make our own cheese, we want to do other cheese snacks with that so that I think you know in good time that'll that'll come.
Kyle Krull - 1:00:51
OK, yeah. You know, you mentioned before you've eaten a ton of cheddar cheese, so I immediately started thinking, OK, like our parmys coming next, maybe gorgis or?
Francisco Pergola - 1:00:59
Kyle Krull - 1:01:00
Francisco Pergola - 1:01:01
Know. Maybe terribles. I don't know.
Kyle Krull - 1:01:03
Francisco Pergola - 1:01:06
She infused, you know, who wouldn't for that to be, you know, nationwide approved first. But yeah, it's OK. We do a lot of R&D here at home, so now just. Yeah, we thought that's something to boss and I love to cook like well we'll entertain and we'll we like to have a good time like that's that's our culture of Chinese like we we just want to have a good time like that's you know. Uh, that's that's the most important thing to us, so.
Kyle Krull - 1:01:37
For sure. And nobody was carried on to this podcast again, don't give the final credit number. We spent the 1st 5 minutes literally laughing.
Francisco Pergola - 1:01:45
So while we were laughing about at one point it was just, we were just.
Kyle Krull - 1:01:48
Laughing. It honestly reminded me to be like a kid at the dinner table where you get the giggles and your parents are like, stop laughing, you just can't. And just like there's nothing I can do about this right now, I don't even.
Francisco Pergola - 1:01:57
Know what's funny anymore? But we're going. I've been told I have very expressive eyebrows. So, like, I think, I think those things were just kind of going off, you know, like.
Anthony Corsaro - 1:02:06
Francisco Pergola - 1:02:07
Anthony Corsaro - 1:02:09
Would be great. Plug for people to for people to consume the the content on YouTube right there.
Francisco Pergola - 1:02:14
Ohh yeah. I hope, I hope more people listen to this podcast because what you guys are doing is is is really awesome. I really, I mean I really think that this is what the industry needs is more people talking and shedding light on on like the few businesses out there that believe that this is the future for food and like that it is sustainable. It's a it's a very doable thing. We just need to. Believe in it and and continue to spread the word. So thank you guys for for doing that.
Kyle Krull - 1:02:44
We we got the easy job. We just get to showcase the hard work that everybody else like you was doing, you know? So actually we do the hard work. Anthony really does the hard work for the podcast. So again, shout out for all the energy he puts in. I just need to show up with clothed hair and talk to people.
Francisco Pergola - 1:02:59
Hey, you know what, I'm getting a little receding hairline, so you appreciate the.
Anthony Corsaro - 1:03:03
Francisco Pergola - 1:03:03
It's, you know.
Anthony Corsaro - 1:03:04
It's you're totally fine. You're totally fine. And we we we really do appreciate you saying that seriously. That means a lot to us and that's the whole reason why we do this. So your your TS up perfectly to close this thing out with our final question, which is. How do we scale regen brands to have 50% market share by 2050? How do we get that done?
Francisco Pergola - 1:03:30
Should have seen that question coming. Should have been a little more prepared, no, I think. How do we do it? I think. I I mean I really I think we just continue to place emphasis on you know. Shedding light on on the quality of of the food and just how important that is, you know, for us as consumers, I, I think you know, and Thomas and I talk about this actually pretty regularly, but I think it's become more of a provocative question to answer today only because we are far more removed from the food we eat than we ever had. In before, you know, like when people were so growing their food or when they were bartering with their neighbors. Yeah. Like the importance of the quality was number one, you know, because if you saw your neighbor growing their tomatoes with.
Francisco Pergola - 1:04:15
I don't even know what a bad example would be, but like college is dumping chemicals right over the top of their of their problems.
Kyle Krull - 1:04:40
Like glyphosate once a week on top of their you know.
Francisco Pergola - 1:04:43
Let's just we'll we'll take it there right like but if we were if we were seeing it if we were you know like directly impacted by that then and and and that that was true for everything that we're eating then I think as a community we would say like whoa what's going on here like you know we're we're damaging the soil we're damaging the environment. Where we're eating shit, really, at the end of the day. We need to do something about it. But because like we don't see any of it and we're told that either this is good or this is bad, then we're really at the mercy of just marketing and like media and what news wants us to believe about what's good or bad versus just us as humans making that decision for ourselves, which I believe is like it's it's human nature to see like OK, this is good and this is bad, right? Like so I think 2050. How do we do it? I think we need to continue to. We educate people about.
Francisco Pergola - 1:05:39
Why? This is just how you would grow your food this way. This is this is how we used to do it. This is how you would do it if you had a choice and like that's really what it needs to come down to. I don't know how that messaging comes across and and modern day, but.
Anthony Corsaro - 1:06:00
You know, it's real simple, brother. Great tasting food with transparent supply chains. That's exactly what you just said. Yeah.
Kyle Krull - 1:06:06
That was the most important take away I had. Yeah, yeah. And I'm just going to flip the script again. We actually want to eat shit we want to use. To increase the organic soil composition of our soils, to have waited treatments, foods, you know, it's like we would rather eat that than the spring on chemicals. So it just said that I'm talking about regenerative was like that's actually like a flip of the script we should probably acknowledge.
Francisco Pergola - 1:06:32
It is, it is. I mean, see, that's one of those things where like I don't know if it makes it on the back of the box today. You know, like me spread shit on our farm lands to, you know, avoid using harsh pesticides and chemicals are they? Most consumers nowadays would be like ill you know, I don't want my cheese crackers being close to that. But like, you're totally right. Like, I mean, if if like somebody was there watching how, like, you know, the animals were being raised, it'd be like, dude, just like grab the manure, spread it out and like, don't don't fuck around with the soil. You know, like whatever they're doing over there, it just looks totally wrong. You know, like chimney stacks and like, you know, cows that are are, you know, just left in a mud pit, you know, like.
Francisco Pergola - 1:07:09
You would immediately know like, I don't wanna eat that, right? Like, but we we don't see that anymore. So it's like. Yeah, we'll leave the shit off of the box for now. Yeah, for now. For now.
Kyle Krull - 1:07:36
The reason I'm not in charge of Brandy and I'm a sales guy because I was stuck at branding, it'd be way too extreme.
Francisco Pergola - 1:07:41
Yeah, I think yeah, rainbows and butterflies definitely sells a little easier. You know, utopic. Sort of. Picture of what regenerative is, but I think. Yeah, I mean we're just, we're just excited to be part of it you know and and just an ongoing challenge so.
Kyle Krull - 1:08:03
Right. Well, well, hey, man, we appreciate you having me on. Yeah, super fun conversation, plenty of gigs in there, love that. And you'll really love the work that you're doing in Cheddies real quick. Just so our listeners who might want to order online is if you go to amazonisthereyouCheddies.com, how can people find your your product?
Francisco Pergola - 1:08:22
We we we're going to be so actually like. Interestingly enough, we we never really like touch base on this, but like a strategic business decision of ours was actually not going into DC right away. So like we've actually really refrained, refrained from going down that path. We really focused on retail predominantly. So like it really sucks when someone's like oh, where can I buy them. Amazon kind of like makes that easy for your business, but at the same time it presents a lot of other complications that.
Francisco Pergola - 1:08:26
Can deter your business from growth mostly because like you're you know if you don't have the right team in place you're putting a lot of energy into keeping that going and in the returns are not good nowadays for they can be good they're challenging. So we for many years just focus on retail and and so now finally this year we're deciding that it's it's the appropriate time to start selling online. So next month where I'm going with this we'll we'll be available on Amazon. So first week of March.
Anthony Corsaro - 1:09:30
Nice. Yep. Perfect timing, man. Perfect timing. We will send people that way.
Francisco Pergola - 1:09:34
Perfect timing. Yeah, no kidding. And huge shout out to Alexander family farms Rumiano cheese and just you know all the supporters out there that have tried Cheddies, our loyal customers and and to to those of you that are going to go out and do my little cheesy Cheddies comparison, I highly encourage it.
Anthony Corsaro - 1:09:56
Love it. Cool, man. Thank you so much for being with us, bro. Really.
Francisco Pergola - 1:10:00
Nice guys, really enjoyed it as well.
Anthony Corsaro - 1:10:07
For show notes and more information on our guests and what we discussed on the show, check out our website regen-brands.com that is regen-brands.com. You can also check out our YouTube channel, Regen Brands Podcast for all of our episodes with both video and audio. The best way to support our work is to give us a 5-star rating on your favorite podcast platform and subscribe to future episodes. Thanks so much for tuning into The ReGen Brands Podcast brought to you by the Regen Coalition and Outlaw Ventures. We hope you learned something new in this episode and it empowers you to use your voice, your time, and your dollars to help us build a better and more regenerative food system. Love you guys.