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As Chief Fat-ministrator of FBOMB and Co-founder of Love You Foods LLC, Kara has a unique background in finance, accounting, restaurant management, and ecology. She and her husband, Ross, founded the FBOMB brand of all-natural premium nut butters and oils as part of their mission to make low-carb/high-fat snacks more accessible and portable.
As Chief Fat Officer of FBOMB and Co-founder of Love You Foods LLC, Ross and his wife, Kara, founded the FBOMB brand of all-natural premium nut butters and oils as part of their mission to make low-carb/high-fat snacks more accessible and portable. Prior to Love You Foods, Ross worked in renewable energy, which involved extensive travel throughout the world. His inability to find low-carb snacking options while on the road inspired Ross to develop FBOMB nut butters and oils.
Carole: Welcome, everyone, to another episode of Keto Chat. I am your host, Carole Freeman, certified nutritionist, and certified clinical hypnotherapist and all that fun stuff. I’m here today not only with the FBomb company people, Kara and Ross, but I’m actually at their factory, their company headquarters in Flagstaff, Arizona and I’ve just had a personal tour of the whole facility. Lots of photos that we’ve been placing on …
Carole: You want to move the camera or something? Am I not in it?
Camperaperson: No, I want to move it only because there’s something coming from that vent.
Carole: We can start over.
Camperaperson: I’m really sorry.
Kara: Pay no attention to the ooze.
Camperaperson: There we go. Because you said, “We’re at the factory.” And I was like, “Oh, no. You don’t want the …”
Kara: There’s ooze.
Ross: I think it’s insulation spray that’s been there. We should probably paint over it.
Kara: I’m pretty sure it’s not nut butter.
Carole: I just started. She wasn’t going to do the composition but she can’t help it. All right, take two. It’s all good? All right, take two.
Carole: Hey, welcome to another episode of Keto Chat. I am your host Carole Freeman, certified nutritionist, certified clinical hypnotherapist, and I am here today with Kara and Ross of FBomb but not only am I here with these awesome people but we are at their company headquarters, their factory, where all the magic happens, where all the F fat gets shoved into packets, the F gets shoved into little pouches, in Flagstaff Arizona. I’ve just had a tour of everything they’ve got going on down there. They’ve got some new updates so if you’ve been watching my series I did an interview with them just about a year ago paleo-effects so here we are about a year later anniversary so we get to talk about all the cool updates and new stuff that the company has been up to and partnerships and all kinds of cool stuff.
Carole: Oh my gosh. Where do we even start? Some people are watching this, they’ve never heard of you guys.
Kara: What is an F Bomb?
Carole: So let’s just start there. Will you guys introduce yourselves and give us a little back story about how you started this company?
Kara: Sure. I’m Kara Taylor, Ross Taylor.
Ross: I thought you were going to tell them about yourself.
Kara: No, I’m not.
Ross: Kara and Ross Taylor. We started this company out of personal need. We both were Keto and looking to get healthy fats and enough fat. It’s easy to get the proteins and the carbs and the veggies when you’re out but getting enough fat is difficult. We were making our own stuff and realized there is a market for it so we started this part time not even three years ago, started full-time early last year and it’s taken off.
Carole: Yeah, that’s fantastic, all right. What is an FBomb, then, beside the slang. What is your FBombs?
Kara: F is for fat, of course. All of our products are based on really good fats. We’ve got nut butters all based on macadamia nut butter. We’ve got six different really good quality oils and everything that we do right now is packed in little portable packets so you can …
Carole: Oh, the packets.
Kara: Show and tell.
Ross: Hey, and they fly.
Kara: And they fly.
Carole: We brought this for a reason. You should zoom in on that if I do that. This is what all of your products right now … These are the F bombs and they are different flavors, different types of oils and different types of fats and flavors and yumminess inside there. Tell us about your new packaging. Last time I saw you guys it was a little bit different.
Kara: Yeah, new shape. You can tell the packaging story.
Ross: Our original pouches were basically just rectangular like that and had a little tear notch on each side. We paid extra then even when we were just small and very much self-funded, we paid extra for the rounded corners with the thoughts that you could put in your pocket and it’s not going to poke you. We had a tear not on either side and we expected that people would just carry corner off but we found that people were tearing the whole width of the top off and trying to shove the whole width in their mouth.
Kara: That’s funny. You’re right because every time I opened them that’s what I did, is tear the whole top off. I didn’t realize that you could just hear the corner off,
Ross: That was our single biggest complaint about the old pouch and the shape and its ease of use so now we have this new custom shape, we’ve got that machine down there, the Fat-O-Matic, that makes a pouch, fills it, die cuts it to shape like this and now you can tear it off. It’s got a tapered little nozzle or spout up there and tear that off and it makes it really easy to squeeze and actually hit your mouth.
Carole: Yeah, nice. Also, the packaging is changed a little bit on the outside so it’s easier to differentiate between the different flavors now, right?
Ross: Yeah, everything before was black, it was black with red. That’s been our ongoing color theme, or scheme.
Kara: It looks nice but hard to tell them apart.
Ross: We had a professional baseball player who was doing a video with one of our products and we have macadamia nut butter and macadamia nut oil and he did a YouTube video and accidentally opened a packet of macadamia nut oil and he goes, “Oh, maybe I got the wrong one. I’m not sure if I was supposed to mix that in something.” It was difficult unless you really paid attention to what was written on the pack it was hard to tell the difference. Now the nut butters have the orange, the oils have a green stripe, and it’s really easy to differentiate.
Carole: Okay. Nice. You guys have one new flavor or more? Just one new flavor right now, right?
Kara: One new flavor recently.
Carole: Just hit one of the side buttons. There.
Kara: Yeah, the newest one is macadamia with pecan butter. It’s good. It’s really good. Little bit of sea salt.
Carole: I haven’t even tried it yet but I’m going to try it here in a minute. Not on camera though. I’m teasing you. I’m going to try it after you’re not even watching. You guys are blending the pecans here on site, like making the nut butter from that? The macadamia as well? Is that fresh blended here or do you guys buy that pre-blended?
Ross: We have a way outgrown our ability to grind here. When we started we would literally get 100 pounds of dry roasted macadamia nuts at a time and then we got up to where we were buying a thousand or a couple thousand pounds of macadamia nut pieces that were dry roasted and they were part of another company’s … Clif Bar, you can say that. They were a part of batches that Clif Bar was having custom roasted for their product and we couldn’t, at the time, afford to get a whole batch custom roasted, custom ground. If you just take macadamia nuts and you run them through a grinder like a peanut grinder or something it comes out so smooth and creamy it tastes nice but it’s kind of lifeless. It’s liquid.
Ross: Our equipment, we had to modify so that we could get little pieces in there. Fine little chunks, something to give it a little bit of texture and interest. We couldn’t just buy that off the shelf but now we get 40,000 pounds of macadamia nut butter at a time so we can get custom roasted and custom round to our specification and then we get it fresh here. The pecans is an ingredient and we’re not yet up to buying as much of that so we are still grinding the pecan butter here and we’re grinding that from raw pecans, they’re U.S. pecans, they’re really tasty. If any fall on the floor …
Carole: Fresh ground then, and then you guys are packaging them right here. Every one of these I’ve ever had is fresh and tasty and it tastes like it’s …
Kara: No preservatives. Just fresh stuff.
Ross: We mix the batches and package right away and that way they’re really well protected in those packages. We have that film custom-made for us. It’s a laminate that the manufacturer makes specifically for us because macadamia nuts are a little fragile if you leave them exposed to the air, oxygen, for too long than they can oxidize or even taste rancid so we’ve got a foil layer in there between the FDA vinyl just to make sure that you don’t get any oxygen penetrating through the pack and that way they can last a long time without having to add any preservatives or anything.
Carole: I’ve got to tell you, you can taste the difference. I’m down here in Arizona visiting and I stopped at the local little health-food grocery store. I’m not going to name names, but I grabbed a jar of some nut butter that they had there and took it back to the place that I’m staying and I took a bite of it I’m like, “This is rancid. It’s already bad.” Right? Not everybody takes that great of care as what you guys do. Kara … You can definitely taste the difference.
Carole: What all do we want to talk about? You guys have a custom machine now that you’ve got called the Fat-O-Matic. It was pretty cool. This is just a long strip of …
Carole: Film, okay. It folds it and seals it and fills it and cuts the corners like you said as well so that’s another one of the features you guys said was really important is that the corners are all rounded so they don’t poke through the pocket and then seals it and you guys are doing testing as well down there so tell us about all the different types of testing that you do to make sure that your product is quality by the time somebody actually squeezes it in their mouth.
Ross: My favorite part is the organoleptic testing. When we got into this we were like, “Organoleptic testing? What is that? It sounds very fancy.”
Carole: I learned that in my herbal classes.
Ross: Yeah. You’re looking at it, checking the texture, taste, smell. Make sure that it tastes and smells right.
Kara: Is it yummy?
Ross: Yeah, is it yummy? That might be lunch, testing the batches.
Carole: So your employee perks, they’ve got to taste to make sure it tastes good.
Ross: We do taste all the batches. We also keep samples of all the batches from the beginning, middle, and end of the batch and send product down to a food lab for microbial testing. We do the vacuum chamber testing I showed you in there.
Carole: These can survive space travel. Without a ship space travel.
Kara: We’ll send those to Mars.
Ross: We put them in of that perfume chamber and pull a vacuum as high as we can get here and then leave them overnight and if there’s even a tiny pinhole leak in a packet or any kind of seal integrity issue it becomes pretty evident there because you’ll see that they’ll deflate and then we also do the pressure testing are we put them in that test fixture and then apply 100 pounds of force to a packet just to make sure that they won’t burst.
Carole: That means when you sit on it it’s not going to explode.
Ross: It’s very different, too. People say, “Well, 100 pounds. I weigh more than 100 pounds.” This is two layers of steel. There is nowhere for it to go as opposed to having it in your pocket where you flex a bit.
Carole: People don’t think about that your legs weigh something, which aren’t your pocket.
Ross: Yeah, and it’s only one cheek.
Carole: Exactly. You’re also talking about … You guys have several employees you’ve been able to expand in your new facility here too and you’ve got some special programs and groups that you’re working with for some of your employees. Can you tell us more about that?
Ross: You mean the college students?
Kara: Good folks.
Ross: We’re up to I think 10 or 12 people now here any given week, which feels pretty good to us. There is a local company that works specifically with the handicapped and they have a really great program. They bring people in, teams of two, with a job coach and we’ve been able to work with them and that’s been nice for helping pack boxes. They don’t have their food and their certification so they’re not mixing batches and can’t do that yet but we’ve got a staff of people to do that and then once the packets are sealed then they help us fill boxes, count out boxes. We’ve got a check weight scale. We check all the boxes and make sure they really have 10 in them.
Ross: It’s been nice. We had some real fun people.
Carole: What else has happened over the last year? You guys have had quite a journey over the last year with your company, huh?
Kara: We’ve been busy.
Ross: Tell them the journey.
Kara: No, you.
Ross: She’s not a talker.
Kara: No, I’m not. I just want to drink my [inaudible 00:13:28].
Ross: When we were at KetoCon we met a gentleman who came to our booth and he was asking questions and chatted with Jade Nelson, who was working in our booth with us. He later just told us he thought she was my sister or something. She was really passionate about the products. Came back and talked with me, came back and chatted with Kara then was sort of lingering in the background the rest of the day linked listening to other people talk to us. He approached us late in the day and said, “Hey, would you be willing to chat after the show. I’d like to talk to you.” We didn’t know if he was a distributor or wanted stuff in his clinic.
Ross: It turns out that he and his partner had an investment company. They had sold a supplement company and had bought then or started a Keto supplement company, were looking for two other things to add. They’re working on a Keto medical foods product. They’re doing a lot of cancer research or funding cancer research, which we liked. That felt really good to us that they are doing this quietly behind the scenes through Don [inaudible 00:14:35] and his lab. They had thought about either starting or buying a Keto food company and after seeing what we had and the reaction and the feedback they were getting he said, “We want to talk.” It was kind of a whirlwind thing. That was September 2 we met and in less than two months we had a deal worked out. They bought the majority interest in our company but that provided the funding for us to expand and be able to get that $250,000 Fat-O-Matic machine.
Carole: Yeah, and have your cool new packaging.
Ross: And buying 40,000 pounds of macadamia nut isn’t cheap because it’s [crosstalk 00:15:18]
Carole: All of you have bought a pound and complain as it is, right?
Ross: Our price is, even though we’re buying in larger quantities our prices have gone up. Macadamia nuts are a limited quantity in the world and more and more people are figuring out that macadamia nuts are healthy and have a lot of fat so the demand has increased. We went from paying $7.95 two years ago to now about $11 per pound and that’s our cost in greater quantities. We just recently had to have our first price increase when we released the new pouches so the price per ounce went up about 24%. Our cost on the macadamia nuts have gone up about 37, almost 38%. We’re trying to be reasonable and keep it affordable. It’s a premium product but we didn’t want to cut corners and having the new investment partners have allowed us to scale up and not increase our prices even more and hopefully you’ll see these in a lot of nationwide retailers soon.
Carole: Can you tell any more about that or are there secrets about … ?
Ross: We did an online poll recently and some of the stores, REI, Target was the top of that very unscientific poll.
Carole: Okay, so just where people wanted to see them.
Ross: Yeah. Definitely Target, Whole Foods market, those seem like good fits for us. There are some places that we don’t think would be a good fit.
Carole: REI seems like a good fit to.
Ross: One would think. Definitely. The outdoors community are big fans, whether you’re hunters, hikers, backpackers, runners, mountain bikers, bike riders, road bike riders, all those have a nexus there at REI and we think that might be a good fit. Whole Foods, definitely, that’s a good fit. HEB, which is a Texas chain. Even though it’s limited to Texas, which is huge, HEB came out very high in our little unscientific goal. There were a lot of people who said, “Hey, we love to see you in HEB.” We may be reaching out to them and there are some other national vitamin chains that might be a good fit too.
Carole: How exciting.
Ross: You’ll know early on.
Carole: Nice. What else is new or on the horizon? What else do you want to talk about? What else should we talk about?
Kara: What else?
Ross: 8 ounce jars? Spouted pouches?
Kara: Yeah, maybe.
Ross: Most companies start with jars and things and then you add in pouches later on. Because we didn’t come into this knowing anything about food products I guess we started with the more difficult, challenging product because we were trying to fill a need for ourselves but we’ve had a lot of request for jars, which is great. People love the product. We wouldn’t expect you would open up six of these at home so having an 8 ounce jar or a 5 ounce spouted pouch, those are pretty close on the horizon. We definitely will be adding some salad dressings and some other things too.
Carole: Oh, cool.
Ross: Right now we’re just keeping up with demand on these.
Carole: You were sharing your own kitchen chemistry … Not chemistry but just kitchen chef, creating some different flavor things.
Kara: We would love to bring some more nut butter flavors online so we are experimenting with some different tastes.
Carole: Oh, fun. Nice. A 5 ounce squeeze pouch sounds really cool. I could take it camping or something.
Kara: That would be nice. It would be portable and friendly.
Ross: Yeah, long distance bike riders could take it out pull the cap off, squeeze it, and then cap it back up and throw it back up in the pannier or in the back of their jersey or something. We’re getting there, but everything adds a challenge.
Carole: You guys are here full-time, right? What is your day like? Phone calls, emails all day long?
Ross: Production, really. Kara handles accounting and a lot of our customer service stuff
Kara: Questions. We always have new questions. Good problems, but new all the time. Our routine with the new machine is starting to smooth out though, that’s good.
Ross: There were a couple of weeks when we got the new machine and we were trying to ramp up and fill warehouse quantities. This futon sofa saw us here three nights in one week. We camped out here at the office because we were up working until 3 in the morning and getting up at 6:30 or 7:00 in the morning. It didn’t make sense even to drive home. Now we are in a schedule, we know how many we can make in a shift and we’ve got that all figured out. It takes a bit to get all this dialed in. It’s been a learning process.
Kara: Every day.
Carole: Exciting. I’m really excited for you guys. It’s been really great to be here and get the tour and see the expansion and the change in just a year from when I met you guys is really exciting.
Ross: We’re thrilled.
Carole: I’m just so excited for you guys because it truly is a family owned business and you guys are awesome people.
Ross: Thank you. [crosstalk 00:20:53]
Carole: It’s obvious that you really care about making a really quality product and the business part of it is a second thing, a necessary thing. You have to to get this out. I do everything I can to support you guys and get the word out because like you said, it’s a need and really high quality and you as are just awesome people. That’s what I told you before we came out, right?
Ross: Thank you, Carol. You’re sweet.
Kara: Thank you. Thanks. Appreciate it.
Carole: I’ve got my normal wrap-up question but anything else you want to share?
Kara: That’s all the things. We’re just excited about where it’s going. We’ve got some momentum now.
Carole: Yeah. You’ve got the …
Kara: Good stuff.
Ross: We’re excited about all the mainstream attention that Keto has received. Some of it negative but the fact that there are a lot of negative articles coming out about Keto also shows that it’s a thing. There are people who, whether it’s because of their plant-based beliefs or because of their training and they were told that everybody has to eat a grain-based diet and they are reluctant to change. For whatever reason there are people who are entrenched. That’s still a good sign if people are saying, “Oh, I need to write an article bashing Keto.” That’s a good sign. More and more people are learning about it.
Kara: It’s all attention.
Carole: That makes me think of another question, actually, because all of your products technically are vegan, they’re all nuts and oils.
Ross: Except for the salted chocolate because the salted chocolate one has a little bit of dairy in the chocolate. Now, it’s less than a penny’s weight. It’s really four chocolate chips in that pack but because that went in the chocolate and has a little bit of … Is it cocoa butter?
Kara: It’s attached to the vanilla in the chocolate.
Ross: Yeah, something in the vanilla in the chocolate.
Carole: Something has a milk derived product in it?
Ross: Yeah. A very, very small amount. We don’t say all of it is vegan. All of it is vegetarian certainly. Every now and then people will jump in and tell us, “Keto is bad. We should eat plant-based stuff.” We point out that there are vegan Keto groups. There is a vegan Keto Facebook group. We’ve got customers who are vegan and vegetarian and Keto and more power to them.
Carole: I was wondering, then, are you going to get into the animal fats business at all?
Ross: Duck fat in the pack.
Carole: Pemmican snacks or something like that. Savory fat snacks.
Kara: That’s interesting.
Carole: People definitely … We are coming out of a time when still the majority of our population is afraid of fat. Things like nut butters are delicious so that’s an easy one for people to indulge in but the other fats have been around a lot longer and I’m wondering if we might move to that where people are less afraid of squeezing a little of duck fat or a little bit of savory pork lard in their mouth or something.
Ross: I like it. Now, of course once you get into animal-based products, whether it’s dairy or rendered fats and it’s a whole different kind of a regulatory, food hazard realm. You might be retorting or sanitizing … Not sanitizing …
Kara: [crosstalk 00:24:13]
Ross: When you can, what are you doing? A retort pack where you’re basically just sterilizing it with heat. It’s a whole different thing and we’re just not ready to enter that arena yet.
Carole: The demand is not there yet either.
Ross: The demand is there. You see some of the companies that are selling really high quality animal fats and jars. We’ve had pretty frequent requests for ghee or grass fed butter in pouches like this. We are certainly open to that and we’re looking at it. We love butter too. Butter is fantastic.
Kara: It’s amazing.
Carole: Nice. Well, I’ve got my normal closing question for you. I don’t know if you remember from last time or not.
Ross: I do not. Now I’m scared.
Kara: It’s a surprise.
Carole: I’ll have to go back and watch the other one to see if you guys answered the same this time.
Ross: Yeah, I didn’t study.
Carole: It’s the last day on earth.The meteor is coming to hit us here in Flagstaff, Arizona and we’re all going to die today. What’s your last meal? I’ll have to go back and watch this and see if I remember to ask it the last time. We were at a conference when I interviewed you last time.
Kara: It sounds familiar. It was a long time ago. Last meal …
Ross: I think it might be where we’re taking you for dinner tonight
Carole: Oh yeah?
Kara: We should get reservations.
Ross: I think for me it would be a nice ribeye steak with a lot of fat in it and some asparagus or Brussels sprouts with bacon or something like that.
Kara: Oh yeah. Brussels sprouts and bacon. That would be good.
Ross: We are big fans of that.
Kara: Meat and veggies with fats.
Ross: Artichoke, the socially acceptable way to eat butter.
Carole: What would you have for dessert? One of your chocolate macadamia nut salted … ?
Kara: While we’re running.
Ross: As much as we love these our nighttime dessert ritual is a squirt of dark chocolate. I’m more the 86%. Kara is more the 72% and a glass of wine.
Carole: Watch the fiery ball through the sky. Sounds lovely. Thanks again for having me out here. It’s really been awesome getting the tour here and getting to sit down and have another chat with you guys is always great too.
Kara: So nice to see you again.
Ross: We were thrilled when we heard you might be coming up this way.
Carole: It’s my first time here and it’s beautiful. People told me I would love it. Thanks for watching. If you guys enjoyed this make sure you give us a thumbs up and subscribe to see more. We are going to link to your website down below to but tell us, real quick, your URL so they can …
Ross: DropAnFBomb.com or fatbomb.com will get you there as well.
Carole: We’ll also put other links of things below too as well. You guys are also really big on Instagram as well too, so follow on there.
Ross: Yeah, we are much more active on Instagram than the others.
Carole: Thanks for watching. That’s all for now.
Ross: Thank you Carol, bye. Thank you.