John and Julia Paino are a Boston-based, father-daughter duo giving back to the community while tackling the snacking problem with their brand, Swoffle. In the past year, Swoffle has donated over 50,000 free meals to those in need. Find out how this RangeMe Verified™ brand highlighted the tenets of their business and delicious stroopwafel-inspired Swoffle cookie to catch the attention of buyers at Heinen’s Grocery Stores.
Julia Paino, the 26-year-old entrepreneur behind Swoffle, attributes the lack of healthy snacking options as the inspiration behind the brand and her launch into the food industry. With consumers reaching for snacks charged with added sugars like nutrition bars and candy, Paino found herself wondering, “Where is the yummy sweet that doubles as a healthy option for snackers?”
Julia and her father John Paino, a veteran in foreign food product innovation, tested more than 300 recipes before developing their final product. The Swoffle is based on the Dutch waffle cookie, stroopwafel, which is traditionally placed over a warm beverage to heat up the gooey caramel center. In addition to having less than 10g of sugar, the individually wrapped snack can be enjoyed regardless of dietary restrictions due to the organic, gluten-free, and non-GMO formulation.
A Visual Introduction
Once they perfected Swoffle’s recipe, Paino began developing a brand awareness strategy heavily rooted in testing and feedback.
“As a company, we believe strongly in testing the market,” says Paino. “We introduced the product to the market by bringing it to coffee shops and brick-and-mortar stores in the Boston area and asking for feedback on packaging and retail strategy. From there we sent out samples, set up calls, and went on trips to meet with buyers.”
Early on, the team landed a couple of distributors with their business development tactics. They also brought on a group of brokers specializing in organic brands to hone in on their target market. In search of more growth, Paino created Swoffle’s brand page on RangeMe in March of 2016.
“RangeMe is perfect for brands that can exhibit their products visually,” explains Paino. “When we started using RangeMe, we found it exciting to be on a platform that showcases our brand to a wide audience of buyers by not only sharing photos of our products but also sharing the story behind the brand.”
Heinen’s Value-driven Connection
Swoffle’s impact-driven nature, a reflection of the Paino family’s values, is highlighted in the About section of their RangeMe brand profile.
“Manufacturing a product that is healthy and delicious, while doing good at the same time, is a reward in and of itself,” Paino says. “Using the proceeds from Swoffle, we’re giving over 50,000 free meals each year to those in need by partnering with food banks across the country.”“Manufacturing a product that is healthy and delicious, while doing good at the same time, is a reward in and of itself.”
Heinen’s Grocery Store, a family-owned grocery chain with 23 stores in Ohio and Illinois, sought Swoffle out after coming across their profile on RangeMe.
“The buyer from Heinen’s saw the products, loved the mission, and reached out for samples. Our products made it onto shelves in all of their stores in August 2017 and are performing tremendously well,” says Paino.
RangeMe, The Tool for Emerging Brands
Julia Paino is grateful to have found RangeMe. “It’s an online solution for buyers to source emerging brands, that customers are interested in but don’t necessarily have the budget to fly cross-country to attend a tradeshow,” Paino remarks. “RangeMe has done a fantastic job providing an introduction to our brand. Having upgraded to RangeMe Premium, we’re excited to be on-boarded by a RangeMe product specialist and see what’s in store for Swoffle.” As an ECRM attendee, Swoffle also looks forward to attending future EPPS sessions to enhance their retailer placements.
Swoffle continues to grow as a company, and they are excited to launch two new flavors in the coming weeks. As a RangeMe Verified™ brand, Swoffle will explore more partnerships in the new year.