Nutritionist Cinzia Cozzolino created superfood smoothies to nourish her 13 year old daughter with healthy food that tasted good. Cozzolino friends who owned cafes soon wanted to feature the smoothies on their menus which led her to finally developing a retail concept for Smoothie Bombs.
The Smoothie Bombs CEO and founder talked to Inside FMCG about how her company started in her kitchen and made its way to Macy’s in the US.
Inside FMCG: What difficulties did you encounter when setting up the business?
Cinzia Cozzolino: Initially I had to generate my own funds by making cakes for cafes and things that would generate fast cash flow to support growing the Smoothie Bombs brand. Another challenge is that because we were the first to market, we had to educate people on what a Smoothie Bomb actually was. You’d be surprised how much work we had to do to convey the concept at the start.
Inside FMCG: Tell us the process of making the products? Is it costly?
CC: We started off hand making them at home then as we grew we moved into a commercial kitchen and got some staff to help out. We got to the point where we were selling so fast that we needed to find someone to manufacture them for us. It took some time to find a good match, as we wanted someone to make the product with our values e.g. certified organic ingredients, real food, no preservatives and compostable packaging. Luckily we found an awesome contract manufacturer right here in Melbourne, Australia.
Inside FMCG: The packaging looks amazing! How did you conceptualise it?
CC: After being a food service product for the first couple of years, we decided to make Smoothie Bombs for people to have in their own homes. The tube concept had been hovering around in my head for a few years but I couldn’t quite afford to bring it to fruition. I knew we wanted the packaging to be fun and colourful. We had looked at several other ways of presentation but they all fell short. I finally bit the bullet and decided I wasn’t going to [compromise]. I found a factory on Alibaba, took a risk and sent them the little savings I had to make the tube I envisioned. Luckily it paid off!
Inside FMCG: What are your best selling products?
CC: All our smoothie booster flavours sell really well. The Super Berries is an obvious favourite and a great one for the kids. We have a huge community using these daily who mix and match different Smoothie Bombs with different fruit and milk combos.
Inside FMCG: How did you partner with Woolworths and Chemist Warehouse?
CC: Chemist Warehouse initially approached us, wanting to get Smoothie Bombs on the shelves in their new and improved nutrition aisle. With Woolworths, we went through the normal review process of getting new products on board.
Inside FMCG: Are there other Australian retailers you’re planning to tap?
CC: We are open to everything right now. We’ve got a team that [is] working on some great strategies and we’re looking forward to some exciting things to come with new product launches.
Inside FMCG: Tell us about how the Macy’s partnership came about?
CC: They reached out to us and were keen to bring us in as a part of their innovative product launch. Of course we were super excited! The process went off quite smoothly as we’ve already been in a major retailer in the US (Anthropologie) and knew all the process of exporting.