At Expo East this year in Baltimore, Maryland, BakeryandSnacks discovered one fruit snack company had been exclusively sourcing its materials from Costa Rica, hoping to compete with leading brands in the North American market, such as Dang Foods and Bare Snacks.
Andres Dominguez founded Natural Sins when he and his wife relocated to the US in 2012. His friend and business partner, Ivan Sosa, whom Dominguez has known since childhood lives in Costa Rica with his mother.
Living in a country that has the biggest pineapple export in the world, Sosa’s mother developed her own recipe of dried fruit. Both Dominguez and Sosa thought it was a good idea to start manufacturing and packaging the product, and turn it into a business.
Natural Sins offers four varieties of dried fruit snacks, including pineapple, mango, coconut and beet chips. All the ingredients are sourced from Costa Rica. The one-ounce bags of fruit chips retails between $2.75 and $2.99 each, and they are available at mostly independent retailers and chains, such as Lucky’s Market, Shop Rite, AJ’s and Food Town.
“At Natural Sins, we believe that single-origin materials guarantee freshness and quality of our products,” Dominguez said. “It also allows us to work closely with our farmers in Costa Rica.”
Competing with major fruit snack brands
Speaking of the business strategy Natural Sin implements to compete with major US fruit snack brands, Dominguez said the main difference of his products is in preserving the full shape, color, smell and taste of the fresh fruit.
“It’s a full-sensory experience to the consumer. Something that’s really rare in the market right now,” he said. “And we want our consumers to know what they eat.”
All Natural Sins fruit chips are baked as a dehydration process, and contain a small amount of sugar to maintain its shelf life, according to the company.
300% business growth in 10 weeks
Soon after Natural Sins hired a Colorado-based design agency, LRXD, to help the company design a “less crowded and clean label-focused” packaging, its business took off immediately in the US market, Dominguez told BakeryandSnacks.
“Our business has grown 60% in the US over the past year, but in the past 10 weeks, we’ve grown 300%,” Dominguez said.
Natural Sins’ growth is mainly attributed to the redesign of packaging, and securing one of the largest distributors of natural products in the US, UNIF, he added. “UNIF has 15 warehouses in the US, and our products are in 11 of them,” Dominguez said.
The company’s current annual sales in the US alone is around $300,000, and its market share is still “very small” in the entire dried fruit category, according to Dominguez.
He hopes by securing new distribution channels, Natural Sins can become a $1m brand in 2017.