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Santana Snacks Launches $1M Fundraiser

Santana Snacks, which sells a healthier version of rolled tortilla chips, is launching a Kickstarter campaign on Nov. 1 with a goal of raising $1 million.

The organic Latino snack brand is Victor Macias’ second food venture.

In 2018, Macias appeared on “Shark Tank” with partner Kristoffer Quiaoit to pitch their keto cookie company Nui Foods.

The pair ended up walking away with a $300,000 investment from Alex Rodriguez for a 25% stake in the company.

Despite landing a deal, Macias and Quiaoit had to file for bankruptcy in 2021.

They were able to grow Nui to around $1.7 million in revenue before shutting down.

This time around, Macias is prioritizing creating excitement around the organic tortilla chips.

The chips will be sold online first, but Macias plans to launch Santana Snacks in stores after hitting the fundraising goal.

“I want our customers to go to stores demanding our product, so we’ll have more leverage,” Macias told the Business Journal.

A Healthier Alternative

Santana Snacks is inspired by the street food Macias grew up eating in Santa Ana.

He wanted Santana Snacks to evoke the nostalgia of vendors selling street corn and “paletas” in the neighborhood.

“My vision was to create a clean version of these well-known snacks,” Macias said.

Currently, Santana Snacks comes in sea salt and “chile y limon” with more flavors to come.

The U.S. Latino population is one of the fastest-growing groups in terms of spending power, yet brands continue to overlook them, Macias said.

Latino children display disproportionately high rates of obesity compared to other ethnic groups, according to the National Institutes of Health.

These trends motivated Macias to use healthier ingredients like organic corn and avocado oil to create a gluten-free, non-GMO and vegan snack without compromising taste.

“I believe that we deserve better, not just Latinos, but as a community, we all deserve better,” Macias said.

After ‘Shark Tank’

A few weeks after the “Shark Tank” episode aired, Nui faced a combination of quality and funding issues.

Macias and Quiaoit began receiving photos of cookies with mold on them.

The two, who originally baked the cookies out of Quiaoit’s mother’s kitchen, realized their recipe wasn’t fit for commercial manufacturing.

They were forced to recall the bad batches and gave out $60,000 in refunds, leading them to file for bankruptcy.

It wasn’t until a trip to Oaxaca, Mexico that Macias felt like he could start another business again.

There he fell in love with artisans making handwoven bags and got the idea for Niarani, a platform that sells directly from artisans in Mexico to online consumers.

Macias took away valuable lessons from his last failed venture, including the importance of generating pre-launch buzz.

He recruited help from former research and development employees at protein bar maker Quest Nutrition and took a page out of its founders’ book who made over $1 million in sales online before expanding to retail.

Macias came up with the idea for a reward referral system where people can receive free samples by signing up for the newsletter.

Within one week, 10,000 people signed up to be on the waitlist.

First in the Family

Macias was the first in his family to attend college, attending California State University, Fullerton for its entrepreneurship program.

Now, he’s helping aspiring entrepreneurs as a mentor at CSUF’s Center of Entrepreneurship’s startup incubator.

Macias hopes Santana Snacks will resonate with other first-generation Latinos like himself.

“I want this chip to be part of the culture and to be loved by the community,” Macias said.

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Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung
Sonia Chung joined the Orange County Business Journal in 2021 as their Marketing Creative Director. In her role she creates all visual content as it relates to the marketing needs for the sales and events teams. Her responsibilities include the creation of marketing materials for six annual corporate events, weekly print advertisements, sales flyers in correspondence to the editorial calendar, social media graphics, PowerPoint presentation decks, e-blasts, and maintains the online presence for Orange County Business Journal’s corporate events.

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