CEO Outlook Magazine

Charif Geara | President & CEO | Nexxus Foods

Charif Geara

President & CEO

" In our weekly meetings, I have adapted a “No Holding Back / Open and Honest” safe environment so that all my staff feel comfortable and can discuss any subject without fear that could be even daring. "

A Pioneer of Food Innovation

Deforestation in many areas worldwide is becoming a significant issue in growing Cocoa trees. Cocoa, as we know it, is the main ingredient in making chocolate, and Chocolate-flavored products are by far the best sellers on the world market. The consumption of Cocoa is constantly rising; therefore, deforestation will continue to rise unless we do something about it. Nexxus Foods is a 100% natural clean-label ingredients supplier with a scientific and one-of-a-kind approach to food innovation. It has developed a sustainable system that is Carob-based with the same functionality as Cocoa in various applications. CocoaNexTM was developed to replace Cocoa powder up to 50% in most applications and to enhance the chocolaty notes. The results proved outstanding, where most of our clients using the CocoaNexTM system prefer to replace 100% Cocoa using a 50:50 blend of CocoaNexTM and Cocoa Powder. Can you imagine the immense impact of reducing deforestation by replacing one-half of the global demand for Cocoa with CocoaNexTM as an outstanding replacement!

Under the aegis of Charif Geara, President & CEO, Nexxus Foods has become an innovative game-changer focused on developing specialty ingredients and custom solutions for the food, beverage, and sports nutrition industries. Nexxus Foods is not the same-old food innovation or a status quo approach to reliable production. Their highly innovative R&D team deeply collaborates with companies to create winning new and improved functional solutions.

An Influential Leader

One of the most challenging things Charif has had to overcome as an entrepreneur was to make himself vulnerable to his colleagues. “To make sure that everyone in the company is accountable to their jobs, I have asked them to hold me accountable to mine,” says Charif. “In our weekly meetings, I have adapted a “No Holding Back / Open and Honest” safe environment so that all my staff feel comfortable and can discuss any subject without fear that could be even daring.”

As a company leader, Charif thinks it is crucial to recognize what he doesn’t know, remain coachable, and be open to learning from qualified experts when needed. Yet bring things to a conclusion and be decisive. “Companies need to make many informed good decisions to enable forward progress. So, making quality decisions at the necessary pace of business is required,” he says. The steadfast leader is a support system for budding entrepreneurs trying to establish themselves. “I have been a member of the Entrepreneur Organization (EO) for the past seven years. EO is a global organization with over 15,000 members that allows young and established entrepreneurs to gain the wisdom and support they need from each other. This allows me to support budding entrepreneurs by sharing my personal experiences through the highs and lows,” explains Charif. “One of the most important leadership lessons I learned in my career is to listen to my team. The way I have incorporated that is to allow each person around the table to speak up before making big decisions. More often than not, they have found the right solution to move us forward.”

Building A Unique Company

Nexxus Foods is a private company. Founded in 2004, the company is committed to serving the food and beverage industry, including sports nutrition, with warehouses across Canada and the United States. Their main goal is to offer the best functional solutions, including allergen-free and GMO-free specialty ingredients and custom mixes. The company innovates with a scientific approach and provides personalized service to each customer. Nexxus’ dedicated and experienced team ensures that all suppliers meet and exceed their customers’ quality and safety expectations. Their ready availability, guaranteed quality, innovative solutions, and unmatched response times make Nexxus Foods a world-class business partner for today’s leading food solutions.

For Nexxus to deliver a consistent and predictable service to their clients, they have incorporated simple processes that have been carefully implemented, thoroughly trained with all, and followed by all. “From a technology point of view, we have put the right technology in place that is used as a simple tool that helps the staff follow the processes that we know work so well.” he adds.

Charif and his team approach client’s projects scientifically. One of their clients needed a clean label (GMO-Free, and Allergen free) solution to their Chicken nuggets. They aimed to produce a microwaved nugget with a juicy meat core and a crispy breading coat. So, the Nexxus R&D team developed a system that met their criteria by creating a system that created a moisture barrier to limit moisture migration between the meat block and the breading; so when the nuggets got microwaved, the breading stayed crispy, and the meat block kept its juiciness. “Isn’t that a wonderful benefit from a unique innovation!” elucidates Charif.

Towards the Future

In the past 2 years, the availability of materials has been one of the most significant issues many manufacturers struggled to receive a consistent supply. At Nexxus, they solved this by working closely with clients and partners and take the time to understand their needs. At the beginning of the pandemic, when China shut down its country for two months, Nexxus had material due to their In-Stock and Supply Strategies. As the situation worsened, Nexxus reached out to its clients and agreed on a solid strategy that proved very successful. “We brought in 6 months’ supply of ingredients. Our clients helped us manage our cash flow to accommodate this. The end result, our clients never ran out of stock, and Nexxus did not run out of cash. We always have a supply when other suppliers have none,” says Charif.

Another one-of-a-kind innovation; “We have recently developed a plant-based Egg Replacement powder system that provides similar nutritional value to natural eggs. Our system has a 1 year shelf life at room temperature, and while we need to add water and vegetable oil, the product cooks and tastes just like eggs. Another innovative project that we are finalizing is Oat Powder that can be diluted readily in water and consumed like Milk or added to your daily coffee as a non-dairy creamer.”

We can see, there is so much to come from Nexxus in the near future. The brilliant, revolutionary company has been making waves in the industry and the world owing to Charif and his superior strategy of offering clean, healthy food to everyone.

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