Craize Corn snacks are all-natural toasted crisps (or crackers) made from corn. The crisps are similar to “arepas” with a traditional maize, or corn, flavor that has a subtle sweetness that is different from a tortilla. They are as founder Leonardo Cotter describes, “evolved for the American market, and ready to eat as is.”
Cotter’s goal when starting the company was to bring Latin-inspired and ancestral flavors to consumers in the United States. Cotter describes that most brands launching ethnic products were doing so in ethnic-specific aisles in stores, and in confusing packaging. But Cotter aimed to change all that with his Craize Corn packaging.
“Most ethnic food products today are not in friendly aisles in the supermarket, most are in regional aisles. And some have very ethnic packaging and are even in a different language. It doesn’t pull customers in to try it when they don’t know what the product is. I saw an opportunity to bring to the U.S. flavors from different origins with clear branding, and clear communication in the main aisles to the regular consumer,” says Cotter.
Cotter originally started the company in Venezuela and then in May 2017, only a few years later, launched the brand in Miami, FL. Today the snack line is sold in Canada, Florida, Texas, New York, and several states in the Northeast. The brand is available online at the company website, as well as on Amazon. Once the brand launches in Whole Foods stores this spring, consumers will be able to find Craize in more areas across the U.S., including the Midwest.
Finding the Right Package
When Cotter first launched Craize Corn in the U.S., he was packaging the snacks in rigid plastic containers that held the crackers stacked one on top of each other. But he soon noticed that many of the crackers on the bottom of the container were breaking from the weight of the crackers on top. Cotter knew that he had to fix this packaging problem and began to look into packaging his crisps in pouches.
“Pouches are the most convenient package style… another reason we moved to flexible was to change our proposition value by using a more sustainable package,” says Cotter.
Not stopping at merely finding the right pouch supplier, Cotter began reading up on the differences between flexographic and digital printing and was interested in how digital printing could help a small brand like his grow. He quickly concluded that finding a digital printer was paramount to his success. Luckily, ePac just happened to be opening its Miami office close by. The two companies began working together in May 2019 to create the new pouch that would allow Craize Corn to go from a regional brand to a national success.
Cotter explains that the new pouch’s high-end looks and crisp graphics are more appealing to consumers. Each flavor features a unique design with different images representing delicious recipe opportunities.
But the really important thing about the new packaging? The crisps were no longer breaking.
“With the flexible pouches, there is no more breakage; it’s a better package and it fits our product better. And now we have better branding. We have had amazing feedback from our distributors and customers,” says Cotter.Today the Craize product line is packaged in stand-up, resealable pouches from ePac that use a matte film and a simple design to showcase each flavor. There are six flavors in all and each is available in the traditional 4-ounce bag, as well as in 1.5-ounce sample bags.
Since the package overhaul, Craize has seen some impressive growth and has received a lot of positive feedback about the new look and feel of the matte stand-up pouches. Cotter has no doubt that a large part of the sales growth is due to the new packaging.
“Rigid was fine for our local business in the beginning, but not more than that. If we couldn’t have grown our packaging, we couldn’t have moved forward. I’m confident about that,” says Cotter.
What began as a single-man company is now a team of 25 employees, and it’s only growing from there. Cotter says the brand has lots of plans to develop more flavors from different regions of the world. The brand is also planning new products and a new marketing plan to further the Craize name.
ePac’s unique digital printing platform has allowed the brand to recreate their packaging over time, with manageable quantities. Thanks to digital printing, if they needed to make any changes to the design, flavors, and graphics they were free to do so at any stage in the process.
“Digital printing is great for us as a start-up. As we worked to make the package more professional, we didn’t have to carry a lot of stock. And we can make changes easily. Also, you only order what you need to order, which is important when you have product with different flavors and different designs,” says Cotter.
Craize Corn is exploring the various opportunities digital printing is allowing the brand, including variable data printing (VDP), which is a form of digital printing that uses information from a database or external file. With VDP, elements such as text, graphics, and images may be changed from one printed piece to the next, without stopping or slowing down the printing process.
“You definitely don’t have to stick with one single artwork. We have more opportunities to create various designs and images. We can even create different photos on each bag, representing new ideas with different packaging for the same product! It’s a very cool opportunity that we are hoping to take advantage of in the future,” says Cotter.
Are you ready to explore how digital printing differs from traditional printing methods? Ready to launch or re-launch your brand in custom pouches without committing to a large order? Call us today to see how we can help.