Following a recent evolution in its branding, Dang Foods co-founder/CEO Vincent Kitirattragarn says his company is well-positioned to tap into what he believes is one of the most overlooked and influential minority groups in the U.S.: Asian-Americans.
Best known for its sweet and savory coconut chips, Dang Foods was launched in 2012 by Kitirattragarn and his brother Andrew . Since its debut, the company has expanded its product portfolio to include rice chips and a fast-growing line of keto-certified snack bars made with Asian-inspired flavors. The brand is represented in over 13,000 retail locations nationwide, including at Kroger, Target and Whole Foods, where its bars are the top-selling brand in its category, according to Dang.
Earlier this year, the company repositioned itself as an “Asian-American snack brand,” a move that Kitirattragarn said will enhance sales and help it attract new consumers from a community that he described as “perfect when designing a brand.”
“It’s the highest income consumer, it’s the consumer with the highest levels of education, most likely to be organic eaters, most likely to be vegetarians, and nobody’s speaking to that consumer,” Kitirattragarn said in an interview included in this episode. “This positioning is something that we can fully, authentically own.”
In our conversation, Kitirattragarn spoke further about the company’s origins and how Dang communicates its brand story across product lines. He also explained why he keeps a tight grip on the company’s innovation strategy and discussed its relationship with investment firm Sonoma Brands.
In this Episode
|2:00 Vincent Kitirattragarn, Co-Founder/CEO, Dang Foods — Taste Radio editor Ray Latif spoke with Kitirattragarn about how college classmates spurred his foray into entrepreneurship, the history behind the name, the evolution in its branding and whether its current positioning could have existed when it first launched. He also discussed Dang’s product mix and why entrepreneurs have to be “excited by [their] own innovation,” why “category size is super important” in new product development, how investors were skeptical about his decision to launch a line of snack bars and how he proved them wrong. Later, he spoke about what Sonoma Brands and Krave Jerky founder Jon Sebastiani brings to the table as an investor, how his leadership style has changed over the years, building company culture through core values and his work with the JEDI Collaborative, a non-profit group that promotes diversity and equality within the CPG industry.|