John Sorial, founder of Tadah Foods, grew up surrounded by the cooking and food traditions of his immigrant family, who worked in the restaurant and food service industry in New York City. He loved working in the kitchen and quickly learned that food can be a delight to all people, no matter their backgrounds.
While his heart may have been in the kitchen, Sorial followed the expected educational path, earned a degree in chemical engineering from Johns Hopkins University, and began his career working at AOL as a marketing manager. Being “wicked good at solving problems,” Sorial moved easily up the corporate ladder, but always felt that something was missing and realized that his career needed to mean something more than just a paycheck.
After being offered a transfer to a corporate office in India, but not wanting to uproot his wife and children and move them so far from home for a job he didn’t really love, Sorial decided it was time to take a leap of faith and get back in the proverbial kitchen.
As he explained to Joi Sears on Triple Pundit, he no longer had the resources, staff and million dollar budgets he had in the corporate world, and admitted to being a bit naïve at first. “I wanted to make this product the way my parents would serve it out of their deli or restaurant.” One day, before an important meeting with a buyer from Costco, as a quick experiment he whipped up a falafel wrap. The wrap, made on an impulse, would eventually become his main product. (“Tadah Foods Promotes Eating Good and Doing Good,” by Joi Sears, Triple Pundit, 4/18/16.)
Sorial found a small company to make the wraps and in 2011 exhibited them at the Specialty Food Association’s “Fancy Food Show.” A March 12, 2011 product review on “In Show,” described the wraps as “fresh and tasty,” and encouraged people to go to their local retailer to purchase these “tantalizing wraps.”
The first retail store that featured Tadah Wraps was Roots Market in Maryland in April, 2011, followed by Whole Foods stores in the mid-Atlantic region in June. Over the next several years, Sorial and his team attended foods shows all over the country, promoted their product at events such as the Sweetlife Food and Music Festival and “pounded the pavement.” In May of 2013, a new product, Falafel Poppers, was added and in September of 2013, Kroger’s Market began carrying the products in approximately 1,000 of their stores that specifically featured vegetarian and niche foods.
While working extremely hard to grow his business, Sorial was not motivated primarily by the prospect of financial success. “I was never driven by money,” he explained to Joi Sears. Sorial founded Tadah foods based on the belief that the social enterprise business model is the future for all companies that want to make a meaningful connection with their communities and their customers. To that end, Tadah donates over 25% of their profits to organizations working for social change.
The Wraps come in three flavors: Sweet-Spicy Harissa & Lebni, Feta Green Pepper Salsa, and Spicy Brown Sugar Harissa Hummus. The Poppers came in Cucumber Dill, Lemony Roasted Garlic Hummus, and Harissa Hummus. They can be ordered through the website or purchased at retail stores such as Wegmans, Kroger and Whole Foods.
Sorial is also motivated by love for the East Mediterranean food he grew up sharing and enjoying with his family and friends. “The problem is our grandmothers don’t ship nationwide,” he said. So Tadah has taken authentic recipes from the motherland and given them a fresh new taste and look and made them easily available to everyone.