When he was a boy growing up in France, Jeff Aziakou very much enjoyed the European tradition of having a little something sweet at the end of a meal. After he moved to the U.S., though, he had a hard time finding those wee sweets, but he didn’t much feel like baking a whole cake, pie, or other treat himself every time he felt like a post-meal indulgence.
Instead, he thought back to the desserts in jars he’d enjoyed as a youngster, and soon Dimi was born. The refrigerated line of single-serve desserts is just getting started, but the Black-owned business has plans to bring those sweet little somethings to a larger market.
To learn more about the company, its dessert-in-a-jar format, and what the company’s plan for the future might be, Snack Food & Wholesale Bakery spoke with Aziakou.
Jenni Spinner: Could you please tell us about how Dimi got its start—inspiration from desserts you enjoyed growing up in France, how you decided to start your own business, and the steps you took from the idea to commercial launch?
Jeff Aziakou: During the pandemic, my wife and I quickly realized that we were defaulting to ice cream and cookies after every meal. This piqued my interest in the dessert category and reminded me of my childhood growing up in France, where single-serve desserts are a well-established offering. I decided that I wanted to not just import the concept from abroad but reimagine it for the American consumer. I began baking batches in a commercial kitchen here in Philadelphia. After a little over a year of R&D and iteration, we launched in September 2022.
JS: What does the name “Dimi” mean?
JA: Dimi is short for "diminishing portion size," so you can indulge responsibly.
JS: What lessons did you learn along the way from the inspiration to getting the Dimi desserts onto shelves? Please feel free to talk about recipe design, ingredient sourcing, packaging, and anything else you feel like sharing.
JA: Starting a food business, with ambitions to scale nationally is very challenging. We are innovating, and helping to create a new category. There is no playbook for scaling this type of product, in this category, in this economy. It's just a lot of trial & error, persistence, and luck!
JS: Please tell us about the dessert-in-a-jar concept, and what makes that particularly unique on U.S. shelves.
JA: There are multiple benefits to our glass jars:
- portion control: 250 calories on average
- microwave and oven safe: you control the temperature and texture of your experience!
- shelf-life: baked directly in the glass jars with clean label ingredients, our products have a 30-day refrigerated shelf life. This provides flexibility to customers from shop to shop and allows our cakes to fit a range of occasions, much like ice cream in the freezer or cookies in the pantry.
- sustainability: 100% plastic-free packaging that is reusable (dipping sauces, painting, storage, planting succulents, making candles, etc.) and recyclable
- variety: our glass jars provide a platform for us to explore new and exciting flavors. Stay tuned!
Combined, these make for a unique product offering that we believe can offer comfort and convenience to millions of Americans.
JS: Could you please tell us about the flavors you’re currently offering, and what’s particularly noteworthy about each?
JA: We are focused on classic all-American recipes, and flavors that people know and love. We simply serve them in a novel format that improves convenience.
- Apple Crumble
- Raspberry Cheesecake
- Chocolate Fudge Cake
- Vegan Carrot Cake
- Gluten-free Chocolate Fudge Cake
JS: Where can consumers pick Dimi desserts up now? Do you have plans to expand?
JA: We are exclusively in the Philly metro area. We are growing our retail distribution and looking to partner with a food service distributor to expand our campus and cafe program, where we are seeing great traction locally. For the time being, we are prioritizing Mid-Atlantic/Northeast regional expansion.