In our brand spotlight, we feature Abound brands who are ready for retail. This week we sat down with Marek Adamski, director of Nunu Foods. Nunu Foods sells fruit and nut bars, is based in San José, Costa Rica, and has been in business for seven years.
Robin: Why did you decide to start this business?
Marek: My wife wanted to make a healthy and nutritious snack for our kids. She made some samples and our kids loved them. We thought it was a great business idea, so we moved on with the project!
R: Did your wife or you have a cooking or business background?
M: Yes we do! I’ve owned a restaurant called Café Kracovia in San José, Costa Rica since 2005. I love cooking although I didn’t go to cooking school. We serve international dishes, with a focus on Polish dishes because of my Polish background. My wife Melissa loves baking pastries and making desserts. So we make a good team when it comes to cooking.
R: How did you make your first prototype? What changes have you made to your product since then?
M: We made the first prototype in our own kitchen with an old food processor. We didn’t even have our own food processor, a friend lent us one. My wife asked our kids which fruits they would like in a bar. That is how we chose the fruits, and then she added nuts and blended them into the first Nunu Bar.
R: How do you make your product? What’s your process like?
M: We make the Nunu Bars in our own facility in Costa Rica. We dehydrate the fruits and complete the whole process ourselves. We are sourced with fresh organic tropical fruits.
After drying, we blend the fruits with nuts such as cashews, almonds, peanuts, etc. The result is a delicious, 100% natural snack bar.
R: What’s your day to day like? Do you have any favorite and least favorite parts?
M: The first thing we do is get our kids ready for school. I give them fresh tropical fruits for breakfast. Sometimes a fruit smoothie. Sometimes oatmeal with little pieces of Nunu Bars in it. I love making breakfast for them.
But I must say that getting up so early in the morning is a big challenge. The other part of the day I like very much is being creative with new recipes. My wife and I talk constantly about new product ideas and new possibilities.
R: How often do you come out with a new product or flavor?
M: We have ideas for new products all the time. However, it is not that easy to turn ideas into a final product. At least once a year we come out with a new product or flavor.
R: What was your initial investment? How did you get the money?
M: We used our own savings and borrowed money from my parents. It was a big help.
R: Where was the first place you sold your product? Where do you sell your product now?
M: We first started to sell our products in markets and festivals. The very first one was the Costa Rican Yoga Festival. People loved the product. Now we sell at supermarkets in Costa Rica, convenience stores, organic markets and on Amazon.com.
R: Where would you love to sell your products in the future?
M: We would love to sell our products in supermarkets in the US.
R: What’s your marketing like? Is social media an important part of your business? If so, how?
M: Our marketing is mainly social media and events. We post photos where people can recognize our lifestyle, interests, and priorities.
R: What are some of the most frustrating challenges and/or moments you’ve had with Nunu Foods?
M: One of the most frustrating challenges has been finding organic ingredients for our products. We want to our products to be certified organic. But it has been very hard to find some of the ingredients we need.
R: What are some of your greatest achievements and victories you’ve had with Nunu Foods?
M: One of the greatest achievements has been to be contacted by an Abound rep. Being from Costa Rica, it’s not so easy to be found.
R: What are the pros and cons of being business partners and married?
M: It is great to have the unconditional support of your partner while running the business. To be able to share any idea, even the craziest one without being judged is really nice.
But there are also some challenges. It is hard to separate business from family life. On one occasion, we had to spend Melissa’s birthday packing a lot of Nunu Bars for a supermarket’s first order!
R: What advice do you have for people who want to sell a product?
M: My advice would be to listen to people’s opinions in order to improve your product. Especially honest, constructive and when possible, professional advice. Get those opinions, digest them, and decide what is good and feasible for your product.
R: Is there any business advice or quotes you’ve heard that you think about often?
M: “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.”
R: What’s your favorite thing about being a business owner?
That I can be 100% creative and choose the path I think is the best. Being responsible for my successes and for my failures.