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In this installment of ‘Evolve Or Die’ we interview Peter Avraam, owner Sol’s Snax. With consumers sick the same old frozen chips and pizza category, Peter Avraam and his family decided to transform their foodservice business into Sol’s Snax with a unique product concept: potato scallops.

Its an ‘old school’ product that has traditionally not been available in supermarkets and yet has a lot of consumer sentiment behind it. This made it a truly unique product proposition for the major retailers.

Sol’s Snax began as a family take away shop Brisbane and has grown into a thriving fast food manufacturer supplying the foodservice and retail markets across Australia. The flagship product line is the traditional potato scallop, made with the secret family recipe, the tempura style batter. We redesigned the brand and packaging to position the new Sol’s Snax retail range as a contemporary brand steeped in family tradition.

Me: What is your best business decision to date?
Peter: Initially we were in foodservice and we were told the brand image we had would not be acceptable so with your guidence we relaunched with a new image. Coles, Woolworths and Costco love the branding you did and it has definitely helped our entry into the market. We get a lot of comments on how striking and appropriate our packaging is – they love the retro feel and we believe this investment has our increased sales!

Me:  What do you feel has been the biggest challenge to growth over the years?
Peter: Our biggest challenge is the supply of our core ingredient – potatoes. It is Important to us to have an Australian product that is fresh but seasonal and climatic changes effects Australian farmers dramatically. Nevertheless we still maintain that Australian potatoes are key to our consumers and we prefer to support the local economy too.

Me: How did you make your first footsteps into the major retailers?
Peter: Coles was our first entry point – we were invited by Queensland Small Business Development to meet the buyer. At that meeting we were told that although they loved our product our old brand was not up to scratch so we attended your seminar to learn more about branding and found out that fixing it was crucial. Our next major retailer was Costco and the initial pitch went well but they wanted a larger format. So we gave it to them – we went from a 750g product to a 2kg offering. It is vital to be adaptable.

Me: What is your best tip for an emerging brand to launch a successful retail product?
Peter: First, whatever product you have stick to the original thing that gave you the ground swell to get the business up and running and don’t cut corners with ingredients or in production. Second, be flexible to the retailers needs and give them what they want. Don’t be too rigid – adapt! Third, definitely get proffessional help with the brand and packaging design. Be open to redesigning it as a fresh approach can open a lot of doors. See before and after designs – here – scroll down they are near the bottom.

Me: Looking back what would you consider to have been the best opportunity you had?
Peter: Queensland Small Business Development Moreton Bay has probably been the best. As we are from a foodservice background we know we had a lot to learn so we went to as many of their seminars as possible. They were informative, professional and very helpful in the early days.

Me: What do you like about working with Evolve Brand Design?
Peter: Evolve always actions our requests quickly – when we need last minute visuals for retail buyer meetings you always make sure we have them on time… even with really short notice. You never let us down.

Final comment from Peter: 
If you have a new product in the market try make sure it is unique. ‘Me too’ products cost a lot of money (with advertising and promotions) to get into the big retailers and then more to compete against the large multinational brands. Offer consumers something truely different and you will have a much better chance of succeeding.

For more information about Sols Snax check out www.solssnax.com.au

You may also be interested in Josh’s story about the building Proteco Oils. 

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