Pizza, In a Bao, In a Microwave, In a Vending Machine?
Baozza looks to reinvent on-the-go snacking
Last week OttOmate stopped by Baozza’s Pasadena, California offices. For those of you that missed our original video of the visit on social media, Baozza provided a snappy marketing overview video (above.)
Founder Alex Cree has been working on the core concept of the project for about six years, first pairing Italian-flavored fillings with steamed Chinese bun exteriors while he was living in Mainland China. While that version of the venture resulted in some well-branded storefronts, the pandemic (and Chinese consumers’ perceptions about price points for baos) brought Alex back stateside to retool the concept.
Sensing an opportunity to go up-market compared to say a Hot Pocket, the Baozza team has made quick work of getting distribution from retailers. You can find their frozen two-packs at about 5,000 stores nationwide, including major retailers like Kroger, Sprots, Target, Meijer, Walmart and Whole Foods. Flavors include margherita, pepperoni, cheesy spinach, italian sausage and bbq chicken; sadly a roast duck flavor didn’t make it back from China.
Alex and his Co-Founder Loren Heinold see an even bigger opportunity through automation and vending, with Baozzas serving as a high quality, hot snack in places like universities, airports, military bases and hospital lobbies. The machines, which use a high powered (3500 watt) microwave to heat the steamer-bag that contains each serving, can dispense a Baozza in about 30 seconds. While the demo machine sells each Baozza for $3.99, the company can dynamically change prices in response to demand.
As opposed to trying to sell the vending units individually, Baozza is working out a micro-loan program, where investors would finance groups of machines, the company would coordinate on site selection to maximize efficiency, and pay-back would vary based on local sales uptake. Keep your eyes peeled for one near you, or try their machine yourself at CTRL Collective in Pasadena.
Join us Tonight - LA Tech Week Happy Hour
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