Meet the Owner Series presents…
Judit Beres has always been passionate about food. Growing up in Romania, her immediate reaction to the food in the United States was the difference in taste and the surprising amount of additives that are in the food. “Maybe because the food is more seasonal, maybe because we ate the majority of our food from the farmers market, I don’t know but something was different,” said Beres. With her interest in what was in her food and her apparent knowledge of the health risks that additives causes, Beres became more anxious when she headed to the grocery store. “The list of what I was willing to buy became smaller and smaller.” Beres would read the labels on all the food she would buy, eliminating foods with added high fructose corn syrup, genetically modified ingredients and trans fat.
Beres started researching oils and more narrowly, researching the backgrounds of cooking oils that she was using everyday. She had a hard time choosing what oil to use when preparing meals and wanted to pick the healthiest and safest option for her and her family. She was introduced to avocado oil by a friend and fell in love with it. Beres says that she gets her oil from a farm in Mexico and knows exactly how it is refined and made. Besides the health benefits that come from her avocado oils, she was in dire need of helping her son with severe allergies and a very picky diet find something that he was going to eat and love. She said, “Feeding my family a healthy, balanced meal was the biggest source of stress in my life.”
I asked Beres what her background was in schooling and prior job history and was surprised to see the wide variety of education she had. She started her studies in Romania in 1998 in Public Administration. In 2001, she moved to the United States and started anew at a local community college for 2 years before transferring to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, studying Psychology. She was very interested in research and internships while attending UNC, and that has set her on a path toward a career in research. Beres first worked at Duke University’s National Child Traumatic Center as a data analyst, then in 2011 she started working in pharmaceutical research. After she was laid off from a UK based pharmaceutical company, she realized that she wanted to start her own Company and pursue her passion for clean eating and better food. In January of 2016, she started working on her company, Neomega Nutritionals. The brand launched in May of 2016 and at the time 1 in 5 people knew the benefits of avocado oils. Beres now says that is almost 3 in 5.
I asked Beres why she thought that local businesses in the Raleigh area are so unique and I was impressed with her answer. She has so much passion about locally owned businesses, it was inspiring. “It creates variety, it shows the local offering of services and products and it caters to the local community and builds a more vibrant local community that people want to experience,” said Beres. She told me that she is totally against the big-box chains that consume smaller communities. “As an immigrant, I was appalled by the multitude of big chain, big buck business, and the lack of choice and diversity in the local offerings that America has,” said Beres. “Where is the local flavor!?”
“I spent the summer with my kids in Europe last year and no one cares about food there,” said Beres. She did not even take the time to look at the labels on the products she was buying because she knew that in Hungary, the country she was staying in, had strict laws and health codes regarding the food they sell. “I did not have to take the extra time to look up what was in the food I was buying because I already knew it was good for me.” After returning to the United States, she realized that everyone had food on their minds. “It was a huge difference from Europe. Food is just food there.”
For her advice for someone starting their own business was to believe in it, 100%. “You will be tested every step of they way,” Beres said. She compared the journey of starting your own business as if you were on a boat, in the middle of the ocean, during a huge storm. “You aren’t going to have anything to hold on to, except your idea.” Beres told me that there is so much leg work on the front half until you see a reward. She reiterated many times that you truly have to believe in your idea if you want it to succeed.
I asked her to describe her business as a genre of music and to my surprise, she replied, “Absolutely rock and roll. Rock your senses.”
For a normal day, Beres uses the main avocado oil at least once a day for salads, quesadillas, or eggs. Her kids tend to be picky so she uses the oil in many different ways, so her children can get the nutrients they need, which I thought was a smart idea. Her newest oil, the basil oil, she loves to use in the summer for a salad or just to dip bread. Her family rarely eats out and cooks all of their meals at home, even though she says it is very hard to do. She does like to splurge on some chocolate on a special occasion. 🙂
Besides the main Avocado oil that Neomega has, there are four other flavors to love and enjoy. These include the Ginger-turmeric-orange, Chili, Roasted Garlic and Rosemary. Her newest flavor is Basil!
Written by Megan Brown
Intern at Shop Local Raleigh
Judit Beres <firstname.lastname@example.org>