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Rhonda Goldberg – Founder and CEO, Oh! Naturals Flavoured Snacks | Certified Universal Women-Owned™ | 2019 Women of Inspiration™ Inspire Award | @ohnaturalsnack
ABOUT Oh Natruals
Oh! Naturals were created to make a difference in people’s lives as a fun and functional snack food, based on a childhood experience of food allergies, sensitivities, and life-supporting dietary needs.
The Oh! Naturals’ name was chosen to reflect the goodness of plant-based snacks and transparency in quality and commitment to consumers, from the package to the finished product, as an essential part of our core values. Oh! Naturals feature wholesome fruits and vegetables that contain high levels of potassium, which is a vital mineral for good health. The plant-based product line fills a gap in the healthy snack foods category and is ideal for everyone, at every age and every stage of life.
Crunchy banana, scrumptious sweet potato, and exotic jackfruit, Oh! Naturals snacks are a tasty, convenient way to get a dose of fruits and vegetables on-the-go – enjoyed on its own, as a snack mixture, or a topping in salads, yogurts, and ice cream. Pack it to go in a pocket, purse, briefcase or backpack, Oh! Naturals offer a boost of natural nutrition anytime, anywhere.
Behind the Brand with Rhonda
UWN: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CREATE oh! Naturals Snacks? Oh! Naturals is a story about life in a bag.
RG: It all started when my father died suddenly went into the hospital on birthday and never came out at age 65. Food was always a challenge in our household. My father was a diabetic with strict guideline and I was a very picky eater disliked most foods. Towards the end of my father’s life, he was unable to have potassium in his diet. When I was a young child, I was a very sick asthmatic fighting for my life living in oxygen tents. I disliked most foods. I survived off potassium through Banana Smoothies as the main source of my nutrition. Oh! Naturals were created in memory of my father and the fight for my survival as a child. The Banana Chips reflect the experience of Banana Smoothies as the core of our business.
Oh! Naturals was created to make a difference in people’s lives as a fun and functional snack food, based on a childhood experience of food allergies, sensitivities, and life-supporting dietary needs. The Oh! Naturals name was chosen to reflect the goodness of plant-based snacks and transparency in quality and commitment to consumers, from the package to the finished product, as an essential part of our core values.
We feature wholesome fruits and vegetables that contain high levels of potassium, which is a vital mineral for good health. The plant-based, gluten-free, and nut-free product line fills a gap in the healthy snack foods category and is ideal for everyone, at every age and every stage of life. Crunchy banana chips, scrumptious sweet potato, and exotic jackfruit chips, Oh! Naturals snacks are a tasty, convenient way to get a dose of fruits and vegetables on-the-go – enjoyed on its own, as a snack mixture, or a topping in salads, yogurts, and ice cream.
In 2021 Oh! Naturals is coming out with a Banana Jack fruit chips as a line extension. Jack fruits are known to be the largest fruit in the world with many health benefits.
UWN: How does it feel to have your product visible as Certified Women-Owned for the consumer?
RG: Having a visible certified logo package allows the consumer to be educated with the choice of companies of who they want to support. I feel that even though women have come a long way in business, I feel we still have a long way to go. I believe certified Woman-owned recognition will help the Canadian woman own business and woman lead the business through education for both men and women consumers. Our current generation want to know the people and stories behind the business brand which influence purchasing decisions
UWN: What have been your biggest challenges growing your business?
RG: My biggest challenges are; finding retailers to give us the opportunities to be their grocery stores. Shelving space is at a premium. We need to prove our case that Oh! Naturals Banana Chips and Sweet Potato fries is a brand that warrants for a store to place our snacks on a shelf. Amongst certain retailers, it can be very expensive to have products listed in the stores. Manufactures usually require financial resources to support the listing fees, and if the resources not available it can be very difficult to get a placement in a store. I feel we need to find ways to eliminate financial gaps for emerging Canadian woman business brands by creating new opportunities to showcase women-owned/led brands with retailers
UWN: How will being identified help you scale your business?
RG: I believe being Identified as a woman-owned business will help scale Oh! Naturals business. I think it is time to have women be proud of what they do in various industries. Offering a customer, a choice to support a woman behind the brand through woman certification will allow freedom for people to choose to support woman-owned/lead businesses if it is aligned with their purchasing vision. Our world is experiencing many shifts on all levels. I believe as a woman we must conquer together to ensure that we all rise to a level that can create a wave of change. Various cultures do not respect women in leadership roles and in today’s society, we must enforce equality and respect for one another across the globe.
UWN: How can people support you other than buying your product?
RG: I think having any social media will be impactful for Oh! Naturals. We would appreciate positive testimonials, photos, or any recipe ideas plugging to retailers or on our social media. Brand Ambassadors who want to help support Oh! Naturals will also be key. Through this journey finding the right partners to not support you is the difference between success and failure.
UWN: How has COVID19 impacted your business? How have you pivoted or innovated?
RG: Covid19 has allowed me to look at new ways of thinking outside the box. Before Covid19 we had a limited amount of business online. Our focus before covid19 was to be in the retail stores and build the brand beside very respected companies in Canada such as Safeway, Sobeys’s, Save On, and 7-11. As Retail stores altered buying patterns so did Oh! Naturals. We found clients purchasing more online for their grocery orders, or getting groceries delivered. There has been an increase in snacking items. We experienced heavy grocery purchasing when Covid19 started which was a positive impact for Oh! Naturals, and we had to be able to manage our inventory properly to ensure our retailers had our brand to offer their customers.
Oh! Naturals constantly tries to find new ways to acquire snacking customers. We look for retailers both who want to carry our Gluten Free, vegan snacks fruit and vegetable snacks. snacks instore and online. We feel snacking on at home while the general public continues to work from home will remain on the rise indefinitely. In addition, we are looking to expand our product offering which been working on during Covid19. Our next product line that will come out will be our Banana Jack fruit in 2021 with all the burst of flavour, clean ingredients, and crunch to satisfy your hunger.
UWN: What keeps you motivated to grow your business?
RG: When a mother sends an email stating that their child loves Oh! Naturals Banana Chips or Sweet Potato fries warms my heart and confirms that I am on the right path. Growing up as a child being a picky eater and it was not easy for my mother to find foods that I enjoyed. My motivation comes from our clients that continue to buy, and our retailers that support our company. There are so many brands out in the market that it is not easy to get into a retail store or stay in the stores, I am very grateful when I see my brand in the grocery stores and
UWN: What support, resources do you find has helped you to grow your business and carry you through the bumps in the road?
RG: Support is a big part of what I look for to help me grow as a person and in business. I try and surround myself with positive people. I attend business seminars, have the support of friends, family, and mentors. Being part of the Universal Womans Network has been a positive influence in my life. I have met so many wonderful inspirational women who have made me feel comfortable, transparent, and not feel alone in this world. They are a very influential support system in my life now.
UWN: How important is it to support women-owned?
RG: Extremely important to support woman-owned. Accordingly, to Stats Canada only 16% of small and medium businesses are woman-owned in Canada. We need to recognize the woman who have been courageous to build companies and support the Canadian woman in business to achieve growth for the future
UWN: What are you most proud of?
RG: Being a woman in business in a very competitive Snacking industry is a huge accomplishment. Starting with a vision, creating, implementing, and executing Oh! Naturals. the right people to believe in my vision to achieve the journey. Safeway was my very first customer who gave me that break in my life.