UK snack maker All Good hopes to develop a premium market for tortilla chips in the country through the expansion of its high-end brand Manomasa.

The start-up firm launched with the introduction of Mexican Dave’s tortilla chips last November. The mainstream tortilla product has secured listings in various retailers including Heron and Nisa. However, while the company has experienced some quick wins with Mexican Dave’s, MD Callum Rider told just-food that the longer-term potential lies with the group’s niche premium brand, Manomasa.

According to Rider, All Good plans to use the cash flows generated by Mexican Dave’s and its private label business to invest in expanding its Manomasa brand. “In our portfolio of products we’ve got to have some products that are turnover – private label can do that, Mexican Dave can do that – and then some products like the Manomasa, we need to nurture them, it has to go through the right outlets, it has to be not discounted, it can’t be trashed.”

Manomasa is distinct in the UK tortilla category, which is lacking a strong premium alternative, Rider suggested. “The reason for setting up the business in the first place was developing this end of the market, a premium tortilla chip,” Rider told just-food yesterday (18 March). “We have spent a lot of time developing these products. We spent a lot of time in Mexico developing the products, we have a lot of provenance with the brand. It is wholesome, there are good things in them.”

Mexican food, while benefiting from a relatively steep growth curb in the UK, is still very much in its infancy in the market. While Rider observed that it hasn’t yet “gone all the way” he believes that the “vibrant” sector has plenty of room for growth, especially as UK consumers become more accustomed to the quality end of the market.

“This part of the market hadn’t been [fully developed] and we are naturally very suited to this part of the market, being quite passionate about food… The premium end of the market is why we set up the business.”

However, while Rider believes that All Good has identified an untapped niche in the market, the company is also faced with some challenges as it looks to grow the premium brand. Not least of these is educating UK consumers on the merits of buying a premium tortilla.

As a result, the group has not gained quick acceptance in the retail multiples. Manomasa’s primary market is independents, delis, Wholefoods and it is currently being launched in Ocado.

“It is really hard work. You’ve got to knock on doors. You are almost going deli by deli. But that is the task that we have undertaken,” the former Intersnack executive explained.

However, Rider is confident that perseverance and quality will win over customers in time. The company is in “constrictive talks” with the UK’s large multiples, he added. “Some retailers are brilliantly innovative, get it strategically and move forward. Others wait for them to make their move and then follow,” he suggested.

All Good is currently focused on driving consumer awareness and demand by putting out the message of the brand through word of mouth and social media. But for Rider the real key is getting consumers to trial the product. “If they taste it, we are confident that they will buy it,” he claimed.