If you ask Tiffani Neal, there are miles of threads from her past life as a healthcare sales executive that connect to her current gig developing top-tier breakfast items for Barlow’s Foods. Both, she says, involve caring about how products impact clients and rely on relationships. She does admit that selling breakfast products is far more pleasant than dealing with healthcare sales, however. “I reintroduced me to myself away from the corporate environment." Neal’s deep love for food and cooking began at a young age. She fondly remembers the delicious, home-cooked breakfasts her mom and grandmother prepared; usually when they cooked the game her uncle brought home from hunting trips or produce her grandfather farmed. “I was never able to get away from my love and passion for food,” she says. Throughout her career—first in southern California and later Atlanta—she’s always been the person sharing brunch recommendations, having people over for dinner, and experimenting in the kitchen. Over her time in the kitchen and at the table, she noticed something was missing—good, simple food made with whole ingredients. Set on a career in food, she started brainstorming a way to fill this void. Over breakfast with a friend, she had a revelation. The pancake recipe that seemed so simple to Neal fascinated her friend, who “couldn’t believe how good they were.” Quick and easy to make, pancakes seemed like a logical segue into the food space. She sharpened her recipe, by sharing samples of pancake mixes with friends and getting feedback. The perfected mix not only yielded a from-scratch flavor, but also crispy-edged waffles and tall, flaky Southern-style biscuits. Even better, Neal achieved these qualities without additives and preservatives. “I really want us to get back to the way food should be, like how it was back in the day,” she says. Similar to the way her pancake mix appreciates the past, the brand’s name follows suit. Barlow’s Foods gives a nod to Neal’s grandfather, Arthur “Barlow” Harris, a Texas-born veteran-turned-farmer with a quiet but direct demeanor and a love for fun.
“He was a pretty simple guy,” Neal says and wonders what he’d say about seeing his name fanned across bags of pancake mix. She believes her grandfather planted the seeds that encouraged her interest in reestablishing simpler habits—such as using foods made with minimally processed, whole ingredients. “This is the opportunity for me to bring things full circle,” she says. Part of closing that circle means giving back, and Neal chose an organization close to her family’s hearts to do so. A portion of all online sales for Barlow’s Foods benefits Feed Our Vets—a New York-based non-profit that works to end food insecurity many veterans experience by providing grocery store gift cards and hosting pop-up markets with free food. After difficult years spent navigating the current supply and production crises, Neal looks forward to growing Barlow’s Foods’ presence at breakfast tables around the country. “I want to become a classic breakfast staple . . . I want people to feel confident that they’re using a quality product, especially with a pre-packaged food.” She has plans to introduce a peach cobbler syrup for the late spring 2022 and a gluten-free pancake mix for later in the year. With more steps ahead, Neal feels perfectly at home in her latest endeavors. “I’m getting back to my roots,” she says. “I literally feel like I’m on the path I was meant to follow."