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Cheecha puffs with Tracey Cadrin Meet Tracey from CheeCha Puffs who runs the business with her family. Learn the story behind this gluten-free wonder that is irresistibly good. You can’t stop at one! 1. CheeChas is a great product for those trying to eat healthier. What's the story behind the product?

financial commitment at the time. Following that was professional packaging that ultimately allowed us to expand from the farmers markets to conventional grocery retailers.

CheeCha Puffs are the evolution of a common snack from Mexico called Cheecharoni (pork rind). Our grandparents were typical Canadian Snow Birds and as such would bring these wheat wheels home every spring to deep fry for snacks for all the kids. In the mid 90s Elaine (president and founder) wanted to try to make a healthier version and began experimenting with cooking methods. The microwave was the first attempt and sort of worked but the heat wasn't consistent so the chips only half puffed. Next was the standard counter top hot air popcorn popper which with a little practice worked like a charm! It was from these experiments that hot air puffed CheeCha Puffs were born.

3. What advice would you give to budding food entrepreneurs?

Knowing they needed to be lighter and smaller to puff perfectly, Elaine found the biggest manufacturer of these CheeCharoni pellets and went to work with them developing a potato pellet that would be exclusive to CheeCha Puffs. Once we had our own pellets we were ready to start test marketing outside the family. We would line up 6 hot air popcorn poppers on Elaine's kitchen counter and puff like crazy all week and on the weekends began selling them in local farmers markets. A food trend was born. 2. Was it difficult to take the plunge and start the business? No one in the Cadrin family had been in the Food Industry prior to CheeCha Puffs so while the foray into new territory should have been worrisome we were all too excited to notice. The feedback from our loyal farmer's market customers encouraged us to continue to grow and ultimately rent an actual production facility. Once the decision to start the business had been made we also fully committed by having a US company custom build our first giant puffer. It was a combination of popcorn popper technology and specialized portions designed exclusively for our potato pellets. Our biggest



Be yourself and be unique! While sharing of best practice is beneficial in many facets of business the one thing that will allow you to make inroads in the food industry is to be different. The large corporations are well adept at me-too development with food trends, but they already have a foot hold with retailers and brand loyalty from consumers. The best thing to do when deciding if this adventure is for you is to take a good look around and decide if what your offering is something new and exciting. That will be your notice me story. Or if you have very deep pockets and generous benefactors, that helps too :) 4. What's your favourite CheeCha product and why? My personal favourite was recently challenged by the advent of our new Sweet Cinnamon CheeCha Puffs. I have been a Gluten Free Sea Salt & Vinegar addict for over 12 years but recently have been sliding out the door after work with the signature pink bag under my arm. Although I am fortunate not to suffer the difficulties of any allergies or intolerance to gluten as many of our CheeCha Puff fans do, there is just something about the crispiness of the Gluten Free CheeCha Puff that I can't get enough of. The Sweet Cinnamon is completely different as it is on our Wheat Puff ( sorry Gluten Freers!) but it makes me feel like I am indulging in something naughty like mini donuts or beaver tails! 5. Can we expect to see any new flavours or products in the near future? We are super excited to be launching a new Gluten Free flavour called Fiesta Salsa in May 2012!! It's a blend of fresh tomatoes, bell peppers , jalapeĂąos and cilantro, as with all of our Gluten Free flavours it is completely allergen free! Nothing but Pure. Simple. Taste! We have tested amongst some of our most loyal CheeCha Puff fans this year and the response has been overwhelming!

Flavour Fiesta Magazine - Spring Issue 2012  

Spring issue of Flavour Fiesta Magazine. A food magazine for foodies looking for healthy and flavourful cuisine inspired by global cuisine....

Flavour Fiesta Magazine - Spring Issue 2012  

Spring issue of Flavour Fiesta Magazine. A food magazine for foodies looking for healthy and flavourful cuisine inspired by global cuisine....