POP Gourmet Foods, Tukwila, WA—a manufacturer of high-end popcorn products, as well as chips and croutons—maintains an international customer base in mass merchandise, warehouse/club, specialty and traditional grocery, foodservice, airlines and hotels, among others.
David Israel, founder and CEO of the company, has found that certain types of products—as well as packaging sizes and types—perform better in some retail channels vs. others. POP Gourmet offers products in several formats, including:
- 7.5 ounce, resealable standup foil pouches
- 1 to 3.5 ounce convenience pillow-pack bags
- 4 to 16 ounce pillow-pack bags
- 1-gallon tins
- 2-gallon tins
- 3.5-gallon tins
- Handled gift totes
“Our smaller pouch bags do very well in smaller specialty stores, like Dean & Deluca and Hudson News, for instance,” says Israel. “It’s perfect for them. The pouch bags also do very well in Dubai and Japan. They like a high-end product. And the chip-size bags, the form/fill, do better in traditional retail and convenience.”
Certain flavor profiles also perform better in specific retailer outlets. He notes that the White Truffle Bliss and Rogue Blue products do better in specialty stores—he cites Lazy Acres Market, Sprouts Farmers Markets and Whole Foods Markets—than in traditional grocery.
Israel notes that retailers generally tend to merchandise the larger bags in the general chips and snacks aisle, while the smaller bags work better in free-standing, retail-ready units, often positioned in the bakery or deli departments.
POP Gourmet has progressively grown more involved in working with retailers to help them make the best-possible purchase and merchandising decisions to fit their target demographics. “It’s a collaboration,” he says. “We work together. We have an idea of what will work best at Walmart or Costco. I want something that will connect with their buyers.”
While POP Gourmet does work with a few big retailers to develop specialized private-label products, the company has remained very selective in terms of forging such partnerships. “We have a few large accounts and will be very selective on this front moving forward,” says Valencia Wolf, VP of customer care and support. “That said, we are always looking for great partners.”