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Mani Snacks, Los Gatos

BACKGROUND
Mani Snacks/PQX Inc. has developed a very popular Brazilian snack food for the US market. The products, Pão de Queijo (pown-deh-kay-zho), are savory rolls made of tapioca starch and cheese, sold frozen, ready to be baked by the consumer.

Founded by a Brazilian native, Mani Snacks is marketing their product to high-end retail food stores such as Whole Foods Market and Draeger’s Market as a tasty and healthy (gluten-free) frozen snack food.

CHALLENGES
The challenges for the company were how to set up the company organization, produce the product in volume, find distribution, and market the product. 

The client had no experience with these issues and sought help from the Silicon Valley Small Business Development Center (SVSBDC) to learn how to set up the organization’s structure and team, get the product produced economically, recruit retailers to stock the product, and market the product to drive consumer demand.

ACTIONS
SBDC Advisor, Dick Brown, helped Monika define an organization appropriate for the product and market, select compelling retail product packaging, prepare for sales calls to target retailers, prepare consumer messaging, and explore manufacturing options.

RESULTS
Mani Snacks has achieved distribution in Whole Foods, Draeger’s and other high-end retailers in Northern California – more than 50 stores will carry the product by December of 2012 and sales are growing rapidly. 

The company hired two manufacturing employees and is preparing for volume manufacturing.  Initial owner investment capital was used to acquire production equipment and support marketing.  Additional investment capital will be used to expand inventory and ramp up production to meet the increased product demand from rapidly expanding retail distribution.

“Dick Brown, my SBDC Business Advisor, has been incredibly helpful in helping me understand how to start and successfully grow a business in the US.  From the very beginning, his advice and feedback has been invaluable. He helped in many areas, such as refining my packaging design to exploring co-packing options, to developing distribution strategies and so much more. His considerable experience provided the guidance and support I needed to get my venture off the ground. It would have taken me longer and my path would otherwise have been fraught with problems and mistakes that, because of his experience, I was able to avoid. I highly recommend Dick and look forward to a continued, successful relationship with him.”

Company Name: Mani Snacks/PQX Inc
Owner(s): Monika Batista
(408) 399-5006
info@manisnacks.com
http://www.manisnacks.com