Breakfast is one of the most important meals of the day and now this meal is healthier than ever due to Mancakes, a brand of pancake mixes that are delicious and nutritious. Kerry Flagg is the President and Chief Executive Officer at Mancakes, a Denver-CO-based nutrition food company committed to offering all people of all ages gluten-free, soy-free, non-GMO, and sucralose-free product filled with positive nutritional benefits. Mancakes prides itself on creating and manufactures delicious, healthy foods not typically associated with health and wellness, including the core High-Protein Pancake/Waffle/Baking Mix line, and High-Fiber Syrups.
Kerry Flagg has a strong background in the consumer products industry dating back 12 years, and has worked at companies such as MGM, Disney, Playmates Toys and JAKKS Pacific. When not working, Kerry enjoys spending time with her family, working out, training for races of all kinds, and playing soccer. She holds her BA from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she also founded the UCLA Women’s Club Soccer Team, which has now won 3 national championships. Recently, she spoke to the Examiner about her experiences working with Mancakes and her hopes for the future of the brand:
Meagan Meehan (M.M.): How and when did you decide to start a snack company nutrition food company and how did you choose that name?
Kerry Flagg (K.F.): Mancakes was born out of my own need for a different breakfast option that could fuel intense workouts. I was getting tired of the classic shakes, eggs, and oats and thought there has to be something better and all-encompassing from a nutrition standpoint. My husband, Jared, and I had developed a kid’s pancake brand a few years ago and took one of those recipes (which was created from my great grandmother’s spice cake recipe) and adjusted it to be a protein pancake recipe with 20+ grams of protein, filled with fiber, low in sugar, and packed with omegas. As the original chef, he had the daunting task of making it gluten free too, which normally can be very gritty and fall apart, and he completely nailed it! They truly taste like normal pancakes. Mancakes was something we thought of immediately when we first decided on making a protein pancake mix. It was just such a simple play on words and made us laugh, so we thought, “this is it!” We did end up exhausting a bunch of other names, just to be sure, but Mancakes was just the most fun and memorable.
M.M.: What are your favorite kinds of nutrition products? Snacks?
K.F.: Obviously Mancakes is first on my list. And I love making more than just pancakes and waffles with it, like muffins and cookies. It’s such a great way to convince yourself you’re eating a treat while feeding yourself nutritious food. Other than Mancakes, I love avocados, lean meats, almonds, and cauliflower mashed potatoes.
M.M.: How would you describe your products and, to date, how many are available?
K.F.: Mancakes is truly the only mix of its kind. Made with only real ingredients (no fillers here!) it has no gluten, no soy, no GMOs, and packs 20+ grams of protein in each serving. It’s also incredibly easy and convenient. You only need to add water to the mix to make pancakes, waffles, and microwaveable mugcakes! Add as little as 2 more ingredients and you can also make muffins, brownies, donuts, cookies, bread, and use for savory dishes as well. Currently we offer 5 flavors of the Mancakes mix- Buttermilk, Cinnamon Oat, Light Chocolate, Maple Bacon, and a seasonal Pumpkin Spice. We also launched a unique high-fiber maple syrup this year that has 20% of your daily fiber per serving with only 30 calories and 5g of sugar. All are available on our website, Amazon.com, at all Vitamin Shoppes, and various nutrition stores nationwide.
M.M.: How did you go about getting your products on the market?
K.F.: I thought to myself that we needed to go after the fitness market first. So after launching on Amazon earlier in the year, we jumped in the car and exhibited at the Olympia Expo in Las Vegas in 2013 (which is one of the two largest bodybuilding/fitness shows in the U.S.). It was incredible seeing people’s reactions to our product. The most prevalent comment was “What a great idea! I always try to make my own protein pancakes but they taste horrible.” There were also a lot of people that were excited it was gluten free. That’s when I knew we had something that could really benefit people’s health and fitness goals. At that show is also where I first met a GNC representative and had a wonderfully informative conversation which helped give me the confidence to pursue retail channels. From that point on it has been a challenge of persistence and patience. I immediately started contacting individual nutrition stores and chains, and made the initial meetings with larger retailers like Vitamin Shoppe and GNC as well as sports nutrition distributors.
M.M.: Are there any kinds of treats foods that you haven’t worked with yet but hope to soon?
K.F.: Oh yes! My goal is to provide people with positive nutrition with all sorts of items not typically associated with health and wellness. We have a lot of innovative ideas we’re constantly brainstorming. I feel like we’ve just scratched the surface with what we can provide people at all stages of their fitness and health journeys.
M.M.: To date, what has been the most rewarding experience involving running your own business?
K.F.: There are two that immediately stick out. One is being able to figure out ways to help people through food, hand picking the ingredients, and not having to go through a bunch of red tape to actually make it happen. The second is being able to choose the people I want to be on this amazing, unpredictable journey with me. Our team is absolutely incredible. The first three people we hired, Brian and Jessica Waymire and Erinn Lutkus have set the standard. The most genuine people you will ever meet who truly care about people’s health and wellness. Those are the kinds of people I will always look to work with, both inside and outside our company. It’s a pretty amazing reward to get to work with those kinds of people.
M.M.: What advice would you give to someone who is aspiring to enter into the nutrition foods snack business?
K.F.: Don’t expect or try to be everything to everyone. You simply won’t ever make everyone happy. And that’s okay. Know who you are and what your brand stands for and let people make the best choices for themselves.
M.M.: Are there any upcoming projects and/or events that you would like to mention?
K.F.: Yes! I couldn’t be more proud and excited for our partnership with Military Muscle, an incredible apparel and fitness motivation company that strives to provide resources and support to battle Veteran suicide and PTSD. Military Muscle is now the official military branch of Mancakes and we have created a special Lemon with Chia flavor of our pancake/waffle/baking mix in which a percentage of profits will go to support the Military Muscle Foundation. The new flavor will launch March 2016 and be the anchor of a 6 month Mancakes/Military Muscle tour to Military bases and Vitamin Shoppes throughout the country to help benefit this foundation.
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To learn more about Mancakes visit their official website, Instagram, Twitter and Facebook.